Many fathers are worried about whether they will have appropriate time to parent their children. The reality is that a disproportionate amount of mothers are made primary conservators of children at the first temporary orders hearing, which sets a precedent that the father will not be primary and that is difficult to overcome at a final trial.
It is necessary to show the court that fathers are involved in the lives of their children. We need to show that fathers go to the games and recitals. We need to show involvement with teachers and health care providers. We need to show that fathers take advantage of every opportunity to spend time with their kids. And, we need to show that fathers share the responsibilities, such as helping with homework, the nighttime routine, dropping off at school, and going to doctor appointments. Basically, we need to show the father’s involvement in the lives of the kids at every level.
Rest assured, unlike many other states, Texas has a statutory presumption for an extended possession order for a non-primary parent. This significantly increases the time a non-primary parent, whether a father or mother, will have with their children. Sources differ as to the exact percentage of time, however, through my calculations, which take into account an average over a few years and include every hour of possible hour of time, an extended standard possession order increases time from 30% to 40%. Some argue that on some years an extended standard possession order can increase to 47% or even above 50%, although I have not found this to be the case unless you round up the calculation to days instead of hours, a calculation error that inaccurately represent the reality of an extended standard possession order.
Although not yet realized, Texas appears to be teed up for the successful passage of a shared parenting bill sooner than later. The Texas Legislature has considered a 50-50 presumption for parenting time over the last two legislative sessions. In doing so, Texas would be following suit with numerous other states in the country that have recognized and acted upon the fact that children benefit from having liberal access to both pf their parents.
Until then, Texas fathers, and mothers who happen to not be primary, have access to their children through the schedule provided by the Extended Standard Possession Order.