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TRANSITIONS MEDIATION

PARENTING PLAN HANDBOOK TEXAS 2017

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WELCOME TO TRANSITIONS MEDIATION WE OFFER A THREE STEP PROCESS

TO EDUCATE PROBLEM SOLVE AND SETTLE YOUR DISPUTE

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INDEX INDEX PAGE…………………………………………………..... 3 COMMON QUESTIONS …………………………………….. 5 PARENT VS. LITIGANT ………………………………………. 6 CONFLICT RESOLUTION……………………………………..10 PARENTING PLAN…………………………………………….. 13 RIGHTS AND DUTIES………………………………………….16 POSSESSION AND ACCESS………………………………….28 OBLIGATIONS…………………………………………………….54

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THIS HANDBOOK PROVIDES YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROBLEM SOLVE AND IDENTIFY ISSUES IMPACTING YOUR DIVORCE

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COMMON QUESTIONS Does Divorce mean that I no longer am a parent to my child? Presumptively, parents enjoy independent and equal rights to their children. Most of these rights will be equal and independent. Divorce does not, by itself, affect a parents rights over their children.

Does Joint Managing Conservator mean Split Custody? Parents will be typically be designated Joint Managing Conservators when there is a divorce OR custody proceeding involving a child. The designation is in fact presumptive. Joint Managing Conservator sets forth respective rights and duties the parents have to their child. Being a Joint Managing Conservator DOES NOT MEAN that you will have split custody over your child.

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Will Our Divorce Hurt Our Child? Children may very well be affected in the short term by the divorce. Divorce affects everyone in the family. At the end of the day, divorce only hurts kids when their parents continue to engage in conflict. In short, divorce doesn’t hurt kids, conflict hurts kids.


PARENT VS. LITIGANT Why Did you Become a Parent? __________________________________________ __________________________________________ What Qualities Do You Think a Parent Should Have? __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ 6


PARENT VS. LITIGANT Why Are the Best Qualities You have as a Parent 1._________________________________________ 2._________________________________________ 3._________________________________________ 4._________________________________________ Where Would your Child Be Without You? __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________

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PARENT VS. LITIGANT Why did you choose your spouse to be your child’s parent? __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ What is your fondest memory of your ex and the children before the divorce? __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________

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PARENT VS. LITIGANT Did you and your ex talk to the children about the upcoming divorce? Please describe how that conversation went. __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________

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STOP THINK AND EVALUATE

HOW DO YOU WANT TO RESOLVE YOUR CONFLICT?

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CONFLICT RESOLUTION TALKING POINTS 1. What is your opinion on what it will take to resolve the conflict in your divorce? _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ 1. What do you base your opinion upon? _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

2. What do you know about mediation? _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ 11


CONFLICT RESOLUTION

3. Do you Think Mediation will be beneficial in your case? _______________________________________ _______________________________________ 4. Do you think it would be beneficial to engage the services of a mental health professional to help problem solve your way through conflict? _______________________________________ 5. If your answer is no, please explain: _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

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Did you Know: A Typical Divorce is Broken Down to Three Basic Components I.

Granting of Divorce II. Parenting Plan

III. Division of Assets and Debts

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Parenting Plan The most overlooked word in a parents divorce decree is the parenting plan. The parenting plan is the section in an order that allocates respective rights and duties and obligations between respective parents. Many rights are independent and exclusive.

Duties include child and health care

obligations. Many parents have never read a parenting plan UNTIL they are reading the final draft of their decree.

At

transitions mediation, we want to educate you on the basics of a parenting plan so you can isolate the issues that you have in conflict with your child’s other parent. If we can isolate the issues, we can best frame the dispute and the manner in which we engage the controversy at hand. 14


JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATOR

We will presume in this handbook that you and your child’s other parent will be appointed joint managing conservators. The appointment of parents as joint managing conservators is presumed to be in the child’s best interest. If there are issues of domestic violence, drug usage or child abuse, please discuss with your lawyer whether Joint Managing Conservatorship is appropriate.

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LETS GET STARTED. MAKE SURE TO TAKE NOTES, WRITE DOWN QUESTIONS THAT YOU HAVE ABOUT THE PARENTING PLAN BEING PRESENTED.

REMEMBER TO ASK YOUR ATTORNEY ABOUT ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE. THIS HANDBOOK IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE YOU LEGAL ADVICE.

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RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATORS The first section of your parenting plan has to do with rights and duties. The rights parents have, for example, to attend school activities or consult with their children’ doctors, dentists or psychologists. The Order, in its current form, will grant each joint managing conservator the following rights: IT IS ORDERED that, at all times, [PARENT A or PARENT B], as a parent joint managing conservator, shall have the following rights: 1. the right to receive information from any other conservator of the children concerning the health, education, and welfare of the children; 2. the right to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the children; 3. the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the children; 4.

the right to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the children;

5. the right to consult with school officials concerning the children's welfare and educational status, including school activities; 6.

the right to attend school activities;

7. the right to be designated on the children's records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency; 8. the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the children; and 9. the right to manage the estates of the children to the extent the estates have been created by the parent or the parent's family.

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ISSUE BUILDING What RIGHTS Do You Not Want Your Child’s other parent to have (use an X to identify the right you do not wish the other parent to have)?

IT IS ORDERED that, at all times, [PARENT A or PARENT B], as a parent joint managing conservator, shall have the following rights: 1. the right to receive information from any other conservator of the children concerning the health, education, and welfare of the children; 2. the right to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the children; 3. the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the children; 4. children;

the right to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the

5. the right to consult with school officials concerning the children's welfare and educational status, including school activities; 6.

the right to attend school activities;

7. the right to be designated on the children's records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency; 8. the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the children; and 9. the right to manage the estates of the children to the extent the estates have been created by the parent or the parent's family. 18


ISSUE BUILDING ROUND ONE: RIGHTS OF PARENTS For Each Respective Rights and Duties that you do not want to your child’s other parent to receive identify by Number (#1 - #9) 1. The right that You DO NOT WANT your child’s other parent to have: #___ #___, #______ #____ #____, #____ 2. The Reason that You Do not want the parent to have the right? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ 19


STATUTORY DUTIES

A decree of divorce is created through the use of legal forms. Many of these legal forms have language that is required to be added by statute. Many parents are offended by the language and do not understand WHY the language is inserted in their order. Worse yet many parents believe their child’s other parent is trying to place language into the decree to humiliate or embarrass them. Please understand that the State of Texas interest is to protect children. That said here are the statutory duties are going to be included in parenting plans in the State of Texas.

IT IS ORDERED that, at all times as a parent joint managing conservator, shall have the following duties:

the duty to inform the other conservator of the children in a timely manner of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the children; 1.

2. the duty to inform the other conservator of the children if the conservator resides with for at least thirty days, marries, or intends to marry a person who the conservator knows is registered as a sex offender under chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or is currently charged with an offense for 20


which on conviction the person would be required to register under that chapter. IT IS ORDERED that this information shall be tendered in the form of a notice made as soon as practicable, but not later than the fortieth day after the date the conservator of the children begins to reside with the person or on the tenth day after the date the marriage occurs, as appropriate. IT IS ORDERED that the notice must include a description of the offense that is the basis of the person's requirement to register as a sex offender or of the offense with which the person is charged. WARNING: A CONSERVATOR COMMITS AN OFFENSE PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS C MISDEMEANOR IF THE CONSERVATOR FAILS TO PROVIDE THIS NOTICE; and

3. the duty to inform the other conservator of the children if the conservator establishes a residence with a person who the conservator knows is the subject of a final protective order sought by an individual other than the conservator that is in effect on the date the residence with the person is established, or the conservator resides with or allows unsupervised access to a child, by a person who is the subject of a final protective order sought by the conservator after the expiration of 60-day period following the date the final protective order is issued, or the conservator is the subject of a final protective order issued after the date of the order establishing conservatorship. IT IS ORDERED that this information shall be tendered in the form of a notice made as soon as practicable, but not later than the thirtieth day after the date the conservator of the children establishes residence with the person who is the subject of the final protective order, or the ninetieth day after the date the final protective order was issued if the conservator of the children resides with or allows unsupervised access to the person who is the subject of a final protective order sought by the conservator, or the thirtieth day after the date the final protective order issued against the conservator which is issued after the date of the order establishing conservatorship, as appropriate. WARNING: A CONSERVATOR COMMITS AN OFFENSE PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS C MISDEMEANOR IF THE CONSERVATOR FAILS TO PROVIDE THIS NOTICE. 21


RIGHTS AND DUTIES

IT IS ORDERED that parent joint managing conservator, shall have the following rights and duties (mark (using an X) which right you do not want your child’s other

parent to have). 1.

the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the children;

2. the duty to support the children, including providing the children with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;

3. the right to consent for the children to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; and

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the right to direct the moral and religious training of the children.

BOTH PARENTS HAVE A DUTY TO PROVIDE SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN. THIS DUTY IS INDEPENDENT FROM A PARENT’S OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE CHILD SUPPORT.

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RIGHTS AND DUTIES ISSUE BUILDING ROUND TWO: ADDITIONAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES For Each Respective Rights and Duties that you do not want to your child’s other parent to receive, identify by Number (#1 - #4) 1. The right that You DO NOT WANT your child’s other parent to have: #___ #___, #______ #____ 2. The Reason that You Do not want the parent to have the right? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________

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FOR MOST PARENTS, SO FAR SO GOOD. ADDITIONAL RIGHTS The parenting plan will next extend the following rights which are afforded to one or both parties. 1. location;

the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the children within a given

2. the independent right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures; 3. children;

the independent right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the

4. the independent right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the children and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the children****; 5. the independent right to represent the children in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the children; 6. the independent right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States; 7.

the independent right to make decisions concerning the children's education;

8. except as provided by section 264.0111 of the Texas Family Code, the independent right to the services and earnings of the children; 9. except when a guardian of the children's estates or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the children, the independent right to act as an agent of the children in relation to the children's estates if the children's action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government; and 10. the independent duty to manage the estates of the children to the extent the estates have been created by community property or the joint property of the parent. 24


Talking Points 1. The Right to Establish Primary Residence:

The children typically live

primarily in one home over the other. The parent who primarily has the children in their care usually has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence. 2. The Right to Establish Primary Residence: Is not required to be placed into your parenting plan. For shared custody arrangements, parents typically state that the children’s residence shall be (for example) within a particular county or school district. 3. The Right to Receive Child Support: typically is an exclusive right. That being said, there may be situations where both parents are receiving support from the other. 4. Other rights: May be independent, exclusive or subject to conferring with the other parent.

Some parents may not like the other to have

independent rights to make decision regarding medical treatment. In those situations “subject to conferring� allows the parents the right to work together to meet the needs of their children 25


Mark which rights you want exclusive, which ones you are fine with each parenting having (independent) and which you would like to have, subject to you conferring with your child’s other parent. A = Exclusive B = Independent C = Subject to Conferring 1. the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the children within the continental United States; 2. the independent right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures; 3. children;

the independent right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the

4. the independent right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the children and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the children; 5. the independent right to represent the children in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the children; 6. the independent right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States; 7.

the independent right to make decisions concerning the children's education;

8. except as provided by section 264.0111 of the Texas Family Code, the independent right to the services and earnings of the children; 9. except when a guardian of the children's estates or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the children, the independent right to act as an agent of the children in relation to the children's estates if the children's action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government; and 10. the independent duty to manage the estates of the children to the extent the estates have been created by community property or the joint property of the parent.

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RIGHTS AND DUTIES ISSUE BUILDING ROUND TWO: ADDITIONAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES For Each Respective Rights and Duties that you want EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS over: 1. List the Number of the Additional Right #___, #___, #______ #____ 2. The Reason that want exclusive control over each one of the rights you’ve listed. _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________

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RIGHTS AND DUTIES ISSUE BUILDING ROUND TWO: ADDITIONAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES For Each Respective Rights and Duties that you want TO CONFER OVER 1. List the Number of the Additional Right #___, #___, #______ #____ 2. The Reason that want to confer over the rights you’ve listed. _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________

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POSSESSION AND ACCESS

Did you know that we no longer use the word visitation? Experts believe the term “visitation” minimizes one parentr role over the other. Remember parents don’t visit their child, parents share time with their child.

CHILDREN UNDER THREE: The Standard Possession Order is not engaged until the child reaches three years of age UNLESS otherwise agreed to or directed by the court. Given that fact, this worksheet is designed to help you prepare a schedule for children under three years of age.

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POSSESSION AND ACCESS SCHEDULE: CHILD UNDER THREE I.

BEST APPROACH: COMPARE SCHEDULES WORKSHEET MOM’S WORK SCHEDULE

SUNDAY MONDAY TUES WED THUR FRI. SATURDAY

MOM’S SCHEDULE WITH CHILD SUNDAY MONDAY TUES WED THUR FRI. SATURDAY

DAD’S WORK SCHEDULE SUNDAY MONDAY TUES WED THUR FRI. SATURDAY

DAD’S SCHEDULE WITH CHILD SUNDAY MONDAY TUES WED THUR FRI. SATURDAY 30


FOR CHILD UNDER SIX MONTHS SCHEDULE

DATES

WEEKENDS WEEKDAYS TELEPHONIC ACCESS CHILD’S BIRTHDAY SUMMER TIME ACCESS THANSGIVING CHRISTMAS

TIMES

_____________ _____________ _____________

_______ _______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

PARENTING PLANS MAY NEED TO INCLUDE PARENTING CLASSES

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FOR CHILD SIX MONTHS TO ONE YEAR

WEEKENDS WEEKDAYS TELEPHONIC ACCESS CHILD’S BIRTHDAY SUMMER TIME ACCESS THANSGIVING CHRISTMAS

_____________ _____________ _____________

_______ _______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

PARENTING PLANS MAY NEED TO INCLUDE COOPERATIVE PARENTING TO MAKE SURE PARENTS ARE ON THE SAME PAGE TO MEET THEIR CHILDREN’S NEEDS

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FOR CHILD ONE YEAR TO TWENTY MONTHS

WEEKENDS WEEKDAYS TELEPHONIC ACCESS CHILD’S BIRTHDAY SUMMER TIME ACCESS THANSGIVING CHRISTMAS

_____________ _____________ _____________

_______ _______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

AS THE CHILD DEVELOPS, MAKE SURE SCHEDULES, DOCTOR INFORMATION ARE SHARED

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FOR CHILD TWENTY MONTHS TO TWENTY SIX MONTHS

WEEKENDS WEEKDAYS TELEPHONIC ACCESS CHILD’S BIRTHDAY SUMMER TIME ACCESS THANSGIVING CHRISTMAS

_____________ _____________ _____________

_______ _______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

START GETTING THE CHILD READY FOR THE STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER

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FOR CHILD TWENTY SIX MONTHS – THREE YEARS

WEEKENDS WEEKDAYS TELEPHONIC ACCESS CHILD’S BIRTHDAY SUMMER TIME ACCESS THANSGIVING CHRISTMAS

_____________ _____________ _____________

_______ _______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

_____________ _____________

_______ _______

ADDRESS POTENTIAL PROBLEMS BEFORE THE SPO BEGINS

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CHILDREN UNDER THREE CHECKLIST “SIMPLE BARE NECESSITIES” EMAIL AND PHONE CONTACT

_________________

CHILD’S SCHEDULE

_________________

CHECKLIST OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS

_________________

(SUCH AS DIAPER/PEANUT BUTTER/B-STINGS) DOCTOR ADDRESS AND CONTACT INFORMATION

_________________

AGE APPROPRIATE CAR SEAT

_________________

SPECIAL NEEDS

_________________

MEDICAL CHECKUPS

_________________

SHARING PICTURES

_________________

SHARING PROGRESS

_________________

DEVELOPING PHOTO ALBUM CHILD WALKING

_____________________

CHILD TALKING

_____________________

INVITE TO B-DAY PARTIES

_________________

FAVORITE TOY/BLANKET

________________

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STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER (SPO)

An excellent video on educating you on the basics of a standard possession order can be found on our Face Book Page at Transitions Mediation.

You will also need to READ A TEXAS STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER

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STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER - EXAMPLE Possession and Access 1.

Standard Possession Order

IT IS ORDERED that each conservator shall comply with all terms and conditions of this Standard Possession Order. IT IS ORDERED that this Standard Possession Order is effective immediately and applies to all periods of possession occurring on and after the date the Court signs this Standard Possession Order. IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED:

(a)

Definitions

1. In this Standard Possession Order "school" means the elementary or secondary school in which the child is enrolled or, if the child is not enrolled in an elementary or secondary school, the public school district in which the child primarily resides.

2. In this Standard Possession Order "child" includes each child, whether one or more, who is a subject of this suit while that child is under the age of eighteen years and not otherwise emancipated.

(b)

Mutual Agreement or Specified Terms for Possession

IT IS ORDERED that the conservators shall have possession of the child at times mutually agreed to in advance by the parties, and, in the absence of mutual agreement, it is ORDERED that the conservators shall have possession of the child under the specified terms set out in this Standard Possession Order.

(c)

Parents Who Reside 100 Miles or Less Apart

STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER - EXAMPLE 38


Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Standard Possession Order, when ______________ resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

1.

Weekends –

On weekends that occur during the regular school term, beginning at 6:00 p.m., on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday.

On weekends that do not occur during the regular school term, beginning at 6:00 p.m., on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday.

2.

Weekend Possession Extended by a Holiday –

Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Standard Possession Order, if a weekend period of possession by ______________ begins on a student holiday or a teacher in-service day that falls on a Friday during the regular school term, as determined by the school in which the child is enrolled, or a federal, state, or local holiday that falls on a Friday during the summer months when school is not in session, that weekend period of possession shall begin at 6:00 p.m. on the immediately preceding Thursday.

Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Standard Possession Order, if a weekend period of possession by ______________ ends on or is immediately followed by a student holiday or a teacher in-service day that falls on a Monday during the regular school term, as determined by the school in which the child is enrolled, or a federal, state, or local holiday that falls on a Monday during the summer months when

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STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER - EXAMPLE school is not in session, that weekend period of possession shall end at 6:00 p.m. on that Monday.

3. Thursdays - On Thursday of each week during the regular school term, beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m.

4. Spring Vacation in Even-Numbered Years - In even-numbered years, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.

5.

Extended Summer Possession by ______________ –

With Written Notice by April 1 - If ______________ gives ______________ written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, ______________ shall have possession of the child for thirty days beginning no earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending no later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation in that year, to be exercised in no more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, with each period of possession beginning and ending at 6:00 p.m on each applicable day, as specified in the written notice. These periods of possession shall begin and end at 6:00 p.m. on each applicable day.

Without Written Notice by April 1 - If ______________ does not give ______________ written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, ______________ shall have possession of the child for thirty consecutive days in that year beginning at 6:00 p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on July 31.

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STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER - EXAMPLE Notwithstanding the Thursday periods of possession during the regular school term and the weekend periods of possession ORDERED for ______________, it is expressly ORDERED that ______________ shall have a superior right of possession of the child as follows:

1. Spring Vacation in Odd-Numbered Years - In odd-numbered years, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.

2. Summer Weekend Possession by ______________ - If ______________ gives ______________ written notice by April 15 of a year, ______________ shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday during any one period of the extended summer possession by ______________ in that year, provided that ______________ picks up the child from ______________ and returns the child to that same place and that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Father's Day possession.

3. Extended Summer Possession by ______________ - If ______________ gives ______________ written notice by April 15 of a year or gives ______________ fourteen days' written notice on or after April 16 of a year, ______________ may designate one weekend beginning no earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending no later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by ______________ shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with ______________'s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father's Day possession.

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STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER - EXAMPLE

(e)

Holidays Unaffected by Distance

Notwithstanding the weekend and Thursday periods of possession of ______________, ______________ and ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

1. Christmas Holidays in Even-Numbered Years - In even-numbered years, ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that Christmas school vacation.

2. Christmas Holidays in Odd-Numbered Years - In odd-numbered years, ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that Christmas school vacation.

3. Thanksgiving in Odd-Numbered Years - In odd-numbered years, ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

4. Thanksgiving in Even-Numbered Years - In even-numbered years, ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

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STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER - EXAMPLE

5. Child's Birthday - If a parent is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of a child on the child's birthday, that parent shall have possession of the child and the child's minor siblings beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m. on that day, provided that that parent picks up the children from the other parent's residence and returns the children to that same place.

6. Father's Day - ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father's Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Father's Day, provided that if ______________ is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, he shall pick up the child from ______________'s residence and return the child to that same place.

7 Mother's Day - ______________ shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother's Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Mother's Day, provided that if ______________ is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, she shall pick up the child from ______________'s residence and return the child to that same place.

(f)

Undesignated Periods of Possession

______________ shall have the right of possession of the child at all other times not specifically designated in this Standard Possession Order for ______________.

(g)

General Terms and Conditions

Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Standard Possession Order, the terms and conditions of possession of the child that apply regardless of the distance between the residence of a parent and the child are as follows:

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STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER - EXAMPLE

1. Surrender of Child by ______________ - ______________ is ORDERED to surrender the child to ______________ at the beginning of each period of ______________'s possession at the residence of ______________. 2. Surrender of Child by ______________ - ______________ is ORDERED to surrender the child to ______________ at the residence of ______________ at the end of each period of possession. 3. Surrender of Child by ______________ - ______________ is ORDERED to surrender the child to ______________, if the child is in ______________'s possession or subject to ______________'s control, at the beginning of each period of ______________'s exclusive periods of possession, at the place designated in this Standard Possession Order. 4. Return of Child by ______________ - ______________ is ORDERED to return the child to ______________, if ______________ is entitled to possession of the child, at the end of each of ______________'s exclusive periods of possession, at the place designated in this Standard Possession Order. 5. Personal Effects - Each conservator is ORDERED to return with the child the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession. 6. Designation of Competent Adult - Each conservator may designate any competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable. IT IS ORDERED that a conservator or a designated competent adult be present when the child is picked up or returned. 7. Inability to Exercise Possession - Each conservator is ORDERED to give notice to the person in possession of the child on each occasion that the conservator will be unable to exercise that conservator's right of possession for any specified period. 8. Written Notice - Written notice, including notice provided by electronic mail or facsimile, shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or, if applicable, postmarked before or at the time that notice is due. Each conservator is ORDERED to notify the other conservator of any change in the conservator's electronic mail address or facsimile number within twenty-four hours after the change.

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TEST TIME HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR SPO? Test Standard Possession Order

For Parents Within 100 Miles of Each Other 1. Weekend access for a normal SPO begins: a. 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend from Friday at 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. the following Sunday b. After school c. Whenever I say it does 2. Weekend Access can be exercised a. Continues throughout the entire calendar year b. Is subject only to summer time access c. Is subject to holiday access, including mothers day weekend d. A.,B.,C., and D are correct. 45


3. If I haven’t received child support a. I don’t have to allow my ex visitation, its not fair b. I have to allow him access to his/her child, it’s the law c. I’m leaving the state

4. Thursday access from 6:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m. a. Continues throughout the entire calendar year b.Is subject to holiday access c. Is ONLY exercised during the school year. 5. Extended summer visitation a. Must be given by February 1st b. Must be given by April 1st c. Doesn’t have to be given if your planning your summer from July 1st to the 28th. d. b and c are correct.

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6. Christmas Access a. One parent will have from the time school gets out to the 28th at 6:00 p.m.. b. One parent will have from the 28th to the time school resumes c. Parties Christmas visitation is “flipped� the following year d. A.B.C and D

7. Back to back weekends: a. The SPO gives me every other weekend b. There are never back to back weekends c. The SPO allows 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends, so there will be at least two months where there weekends will be on back to back weekends

8. Standard Possession Order is Mandatory a. True, a SPO has to be exercised by a parent b. False, a SPO allows a parent to be in possession of their child during defined time periods, it is not mandatory. 47


9. Extended Standard possession Order a. Only is in effect during the school term b. Provides about 41-42% of access c. Allows for Thursday access from Thur. 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.. d. Both a. and b.

10.

Extended Standard Possesion Order is something a. That can be elected b. An Extended SPO? Never, not over my dead body. c. Both parents have to agree to.

11. If I’m not the parent who has 30 days extended access during the summer, I can a. Ask for additional weekend during the 30 day period no later than April 15th b. Ask for one additional weekend during the summer which is outside the extended 30 day period c. Take a long vacation, I deserve it d. While C may be correct, a and b are your best answers!

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12. Father’s Day and Mother’s Day Access a. Depend upon who has 1st, 3rd and 5th access b. Are superior to the remaining SPO schedule c. Father’s day weekend is only from Sunday at 10 a.m. to Sunday at 6:00 p.m.. d. Father’s day weekend and Mother’s day weekend make sure the respective parent NOT in possession of the children gets their due e. B. and d. are correct.

Correct answers: 1 (a), 2(d), 3 (b), 4 (c), 5 (d), 6(d), 7 (c), 8 (b), 9 (d), 10. (a), 11(d) 49


Possession and Access schedules do not need to necessarily follow standard possession orders as set forth by the Texas Family Code. Parents are able to come up with their own shared parenting plans based on work schedule OR based upon a desire to co-parent their children in a shared 50-50 schedule. Typical Schedules include Week on Week Off Periods of Access: With the parent not in possession having the child on a Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (for example) 5-2-2-5: A rotating schedule based on five days on, two days off, two days on and five days off. 4-3-3-4: A rotating schedule based on four days on, three days off, three days on, four days off.

The important thing is to make sure that the parenting plan not only meets the needs of the parents, but of the children. Your children are going to have to live through the plan you commit too.

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Custom fitting your SPO How would you want your SPO modified to meet your needs: ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________

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MINIMUM INFORMATION CHECKLIST

EMAIL AND PHONE CONTACT SENT EMAIL/PHONE INFO

_________________

REC. EMAIL/PHONE INFO

_________________

PRESENT ADDRESS: SENT CURRENT ADDRESS:

_________________

RECEIVED CURRENT ADDRESS:

_________________

SCHOOL CONTACT – LOCATION/ADDRESS PRINCIPLE

_________________

TEACHERS

_________________

PARENT PORTAL PASSWORD

_________________

INSURANCE CARD FOR CHILDREN RECEIVED

_________________

SENT

_________________

CURRENT DOCTOR ADDRESS AND CONTACT INFORMATION

_________________ _________________

MEDICAL CHECKUPS

_________________

CHECKLIST OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS

_________________

Modified SPO\Shared Parenting Schedules 52


WORKSHEET TO HELP PRETEENS AND TEENS AFFECTED BY DIVORCE

“WORK TO INCLUDE NOT EXCLUDE” TEENAGERS AND DIVORCE

SIT DOWN WITH YOUR PRE-TEENS AND TEENAGERS TOGETHER AS A FAMILY. WHAT QUESTIONS DO THEY HAVE ABOUT THE DIVORCE WHAT RIGHTS DO THEY WANT TO HAVE? REACH AN AGREEMENT AND COMMIT THOSE RIGHTS TO THEIR BILL OF RIGHTS IN WRITING! LET YOUR KIDS KNOW THEY ARE PART OF THE PROCESS

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SECTION II RIGHTS DUTIES OBLIGATIONS CHILD SUPPORT MEDICAL SUPPORT

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Getting the Terms Right Obligee: The Obligee is the parent who receives support. While it is typical that the obligee is also the mommy, either mom or dad can be the person who receives support for the child. Obligor: The Obligor is the parent who pays child support. The obligor pays child support directly to the obligee OR typically will pay child support through the Office of the Attorney General. Guideline Support/Current Child Support: Guideline child support is based upon a percentage of the Obligor’s net pay. Child support is capped by statute at a certain dollar amount. Child support is also pro-rated based upon other children that the obligor has a legal duty to provide support. If a parent only has one child that he has a duty to provide legal support, his obligation is based upon 20% of his net pay. Back Child support: Child support that is past due and owing. Medical Support: Medical support is support that is owed for the costs relating to providing for the health care of the child. Medical support could mean reimbursement for health insurance paid by the Obligee. Medical support could also mean reimbursing unpaid medical expenses incurred for the benefit of the child. Retroactive Child Support: An Obligor has a duty to provide child support once the parties have separated. Should an obligor not paid support for the child after separation, retroactive child support may be sought from date of separation until the time the lawsuit is filed. Retroactive child support typically is only allowed from four years PRIOR to the date the lawsuit is filed. Withholding Order: A withholding order will garnish the obligor’s pay to satisfy child support due and owing. The withholding order can deduct the obligor’s pay on a monthly, semi-monthly, bi-weekly or weekly basis. The withholding order can deduct current child support as well as back child support, back medical support. 55


Child Support Report: Once final order are entered, your attorneys will prepare a child support report and file it with the court. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will receive the report and most likely will issue an administrative writ of withholding. Things to Know Obligee: As obligee you would need to know that the Office of the Attorney General has set up custom provisions to expedite child support payments: a. Child Support Card: The OAG allows child support payments to be credited on an obligee’s card, which can be used just like any other credit/debit card. b. Electronic Credit: The OAG will automatically credit your bank account for support payments received from their office. c. Negotiable instrument: The OAG can simply mail you a check to your address for child support received from the obligor. As obligee you will want to set up an on-line account and obtain a history from time to time, of what is due and owing in both child and medical support. Obligor: If the OAG has not started to withhold child support, it is still your duty to pay child support. Past due child support obligations may result in you being called back into court on motions to enforce, where you can be held in contempt or possibly jailed. If you are paying child support outside the registry, always make sure to pay by check or money order, never in cash. Request the obligee to execute an affidavit of direct payment, so the OAG can reconcile their records and credit your account accordingly. Also make sure the OAG has your current address and contact information. Make sure to check your history of child support with the Office of the Attorney General on a annual bases. 56


NOTICE FAILING TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT CAN RESULT IN A MOTION TO ENFORCE BEING FILED AND THE OBLIGOR FACING FINES, PAYMENT OF ATTORNEYS FEES AND POSSIBLE JAIL TIME.

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CHILD SUPPORT 1. Can not be waived by agreement of the parties. 2. Should never be paid in cash 3. Should always be paid through the Office of the Attorney General 4. Can be offset by factoring in transportation costs incurred by one party for exercising their period of possession and access.

5. Will be subject to review every three years and INCREASED if the amount paid is below guideline child support.

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HEALTH INSURANCE The cheapest insurance is not always the best insurance. At the end of the day you MOST LIKELY BE responsible for one-half of the uninsured medical cost for the child. You must compare, when available the different plans that both parents have to see which insurance policy should be maintained or purchased.

Factors Include Premium Cost Deductible Coverage Co-pays on Generic/Preferred Nonpreferred Prescriptions When in Doubt, Check it Out Parents: Talk to one another and decide which insurance policy is best for your child.

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THIS HANDBOOK IS INTENDED TO BE DESIGNATED YOUR WORK PRODUCT IN PREPARATION FOR YOUR DIVORCE CASE

AND THE HANDBOOK IS PART AND PARCEL OF THE MEDIATION PROCESS AT TRANSITIONS MEDIATION

NOTES PROVIDE TO PREPARE FOR THE MEDIATION PROCESS ARE PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL

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Transitions mediation  

After surviving boot camp, our parents begin work on the parenting plan handbook. Lets get focused and start identifying the issues that yo...

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