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Texas courts prioritize keeping both parents positively involved in children's lives when they divorce or separate. Under a custody order, a child usually lives primarily with one parent, but both typically receive joint custody and work together to make important decisions for their child.

However, when your former partner's drug or alcohol abuse or addiction puts your child's safety at risk, there are steps you can take to protect them by changing a child custody order. Texas law allows modifications when a material or substantial change occurs in the parent-child relationship.

How courts respond to substance abuse claims

Texas family courts generally take quick action when a co-parent's substance abuse problems affect their ability to care for their children. This applies to those who abuse illicit drugs or misuse prescription medications. How courts react typically depends upon when the issue is raised:

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Life is ever-changing. As such, child custody orders aren’t always permanent. In Texas, modifications to possession orders are possible when one parent needs to make a substantial change, such as moving to another part of the state or out of state for a new job.

Child custody disputes are often the most hotly contested divorce issues. Parental relocation requests are challenging regardless of whether you are the parent who wants to move, or you oppose your co-parent's request for a modification. These requests can be difficult to resolve because of the strong preference that children maintain frequent and consistent contact with both parents. In most cases, a relocation request disrupts that relationship.

Courts consider the child's best interests

Texas family courts typically place geographic restrictions over a child's residency to ensure continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. When one parent needs to relocate, courts consider the child's age and other factors, including:

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Winter is winding down, and many families – especially the kids – anxiously await spring break. For divorced or separated parents, this can be a stressful time as it affects the regular possession schedule. But making this an enjoyable experience for your kids should be the goal for both you and your ex.

If you and your co-parent follow a Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO), you likely already know that the Lone Star State has an odd-even schedule over spring break possession. The rules differ depending on whether parents live within 100 miles of each other.

Spring break parenting time rules

Under an unmodified SPO, co-parents who live within 100 miles alternate possession during spring break each year. For 2022, that means possessory conservators – noncustodial parents – have the children. The rules state:

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Divorce can be a very “me-centric” experience for Texas parents, and that's understandable. We’re all human, and when your once-loving marriage ends, it's understandable how bitterness and anger can threaten to consume you.

But when you have children, it's crucial not to let those feelings overwhelm you and your former spouse's responsibility to lessen the pain for your kids. Many have also found that conquering those negative feelings by focusing on their children's well-being can provide relief.

Don’t give in to these co-parenting “don’ts”

Our last article focused on two approaches to co-parenting with your ex and added some tips for healthy problem-solving outcomes. Here are some common actions every co-parent should try to avoid:

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New legislation went into effect on Sept. 1, 2021, affecting Texas parents with 50/50 or shared custody orders. The new law expands the beginning and ending times for weekend stays with the child's noncustodial parent.

The reason for the law is to provide children more time with their noncustodial parent (called the “possessory conservator” in the new law). With these new beginning and end times, the possessory conservator is able to have about 46% of the total time with their child.

Here's how it works

The new law allows for an Expanded Standard Possession Order (ESPO). If you are the noncustodial parent, this order will extend your child's time with you. Instead of picking your kids up from school on Friday, you will get them after school on Thursday until Monday morning when you drop them off at school.

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A family lawyer does much more than simply provide legal answers. Our lawyers explore a variety of different solutions to help you achieve your goals and secure your family's financial and emotional future and stability.

To discuss your case or set up a consultation, call us at 972-562-9890 or use the online contact form.

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