A common question that child custody attorneys receive during negotiations in a Texas custody case is whether or not it is possible to have a 50/50 split on possession and the answer to this question is both simple as well as complex at the same time.
Child custody lawyers do sometimes see the family court awarding 50/50 possession, but those situations frequently raise more questions than they settle.
While child custody law firms will gladly help parents work toward a split custody arrangement, parents must understand the fine details and be completely flexible for it to work out.
When 50/50 Possession Makes Sense
One highly important factor to keep in mind when negotiating with child custody attorneys to get a custody order approved is that it is the court’s job to approve only what is in the best interest of the child.
At the outset, that frequently seems like it would be equally split custody between the parents with the child alternating weeks between two homes.
It certainly can support stability for both parent(s) and child as well as the child being able to spend equal time with each parent.
Child custody lawyers find that if parents can agree on schedules, child care issues, transportation, housing, and all other decisions, 50/50 possession can be a great thing.
Unfortunately, it tends to be the other details that make this situation less appealing or less possible for some parents.
Do Courts Order 50/50 Custody?
To get the opinion of a Board Certified Family Attorney about 50/50 possession splits and what it can mean in a custody order by watching this short video:
Equal Possession Does Not Mean Equal Child Support
Where child custody firms find many otherwise cooperative parents thinking twice about a 50/50 possession arrangement is with the child support.
Some parents might assume that with equal split possession, there would be no child support payment since each parent would pay for the child’s needs half of the time, while the child is in their possession.
As simple and fair as that sounds, attorneys find that this is possible but not always the case.
Depending on factors such as parental income, the child’s needs, providing healthcare as well as insurance, and other expenses, courts may still require that one parent pay some support to the other parent in what is called an “offset child support calculation.”
Offset child support calculations are made by determining how much each parent would pay in child support based on their income and support responsibilities, calculating the difference, and then paying part or all of the difference to the parent with the lower income and support requirement.
50/50 Possession Is Possible When Parents Can Agree
Taking offset support calculations into mind, child custody lawyers agree that the support issue tends to be the main complexity that well-meaning, agreeable parents tend to face when asking for equal possession in their custody order.
Yet if parents working with their law firms are able to compromise and even agree on offset child support payments that the court may require, there is a higher possibility that equal possession will be approved.
When parents cannot agree to this method or feel that it is somehow unfair, then 50/50 possession may not be the best situation for them if it is likely to cause continued disagreement about child support payments over time.
Equal Possession Requires Flexibility And Understanding
It is normal that many parents will ask their child custody attorney about 50/50 split possession so they can have equal time with their child.
In some cases when parents are able to make schedules and finances work that way, custody lawyers can help them put forth such a custody plan for approval.
The most important discrepancy that parents must agree on in these cases is the possibility that the judge will order offset child support payments even with equal possession.
Parents who plan for this possibility with an experienced child custody law firm and can accept it as not being a point of contention are more likely to succeed in their request for equal possession.
Schreier & Housewirth Family Law
1800 West Bowie Street, Suite 200-E
Fort Worth TX 76110
Gregory L. Housewirth is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist practicing in Fort Worth Texas. With 30 years of family law experience, Mr. Housewirth has represented hundreds of clients in divorce, custody, CPS, modification, and grandparent cases. In addition, Mr. Housewirth is a qualified family law mediator and a member of Collaborative Law Texas, a practice group dedicated to promoting collaborative divorce in Texas.
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