Coronavirus: Does It Affect Custody and Possession?
I have seen a lot of questions about how school cancellations will affect possession. Will social distancing mean that exchanges don't take place? If I don't trust my ex to not take the children in public, can I not give the kids to him/her? Does "extended spring break" mean the person who had the kids for spring break mean they get to keep them longer?
The simple answer to this is No. I practice in Denton County and Collin County, Texas. In both of these counties, the local district judges have formally stated that the possession schedule will follow the official school calendar and not any calendar changes as a result of the pandemic caused by Coronavirus/COVID-19.
The Denton County announcement states:
"The Denton County District Judges take the position that any school district’s additional school closure following the week of Spring Break (whether the district calls it an extension of Spring Break or not) does not extend a parent’s period of possession beyond the week designated for spring break according to the school’s academic calendar and the possession schedule in the final order."
The Collin County announcement states:
"Some school districts are talking about "extending" spring break, but we believe a Standard Possession Order under the Texas Family Code follows the originally-published school calendar."
In addition, the Texas Supreme court has made an official statement about this and it can be reached here.
What this means:
- Regular Thursday possession continues until the last day of school according to the published school calendar, even if the children do not return to school before that date.
- Regular weekend possessions continues according to the order currently in place.
- Extensions of the regular weekend possessions for holidays (Easter or Memorial Day), snow days, in-service days, etc. will continue as published in the regular school calendar.
It's not worth the risk to violate the court order. If you have any questions about your specific order or need to make changes, please call my office or email me. I am happy to help with your needs and am currently doing virtual client meetings via phone, zoom, or google hangouts in an effort to follow the CDC guidelines on social distancing.