Amidst COVID-19 Disorder, the Courts Weigh in to Clarify Possession Schedules for Spring Break and Beyond

In our rapidly changing world with new information coming in every hour, one more thing that has been put on the plates of parents has been how school closures affect their possession schedule. We at Coker, Robb & Cannon are open and committed to helping you navigate this uncharted territory.

Supreme Court of Texas

On March 17, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a Second Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster for all Texas counties in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order states that “This order applies to and clarifies possession schedules in Suits Affecting the Parent–Child Relationship. For purposes of determining a person’s right to possession of and access to a child under a court-ordered possession schedule, the original published school schedule shall control in all instances.” With this, you should be following the ISD’s originally published school calendar.

Denton County

The Denton County District Courts have issued a joint statement which stated “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.”

Collin County

Additionally, Collin County District Courts issued an Emergency Standing Order Regarding Possession Schedule During School Closures. This declared “For purposes of determining a person’s right to possession and access to a child under a court-ordered possession schedule, the original published school schedule shall control in all instances. Possession and access shall not be affected by the school’s closure that arises from an epidemic or pandemic, including but not limited to, what is commonly referred to as the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tarrant County

The Tarrant County District Courts have not weighed in on this issue publicly. Nevertheless, the Texas Supreme Court’s Second Emergency Order as referenced above controls and applies to all Texas counties stating that the original published school calendar in your child’s ISD controls.

Dallas County

Dallas County has been at the forefront of addressing issues head on and issued a statement on March 17 titled Dallas County Standing Order Regarding Possession Schedule During School Closures. In relevant part states “[f]or purposes of determining a person’s right to possession and access to a child under a court-ordered possession schedule, the original published school schedule shall control in all instances.”

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread and more schools close for extended periods of time, the importance of clarifying possession schedules and making sure all parties understand their possession schedule is important. This is now clear with the Texas Supreme Court and multiple counties weighing in and issuing emergency orders. These issues are new for parents, conservators, attorneys, and our courts.

Reach Out to Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers for Legal Counsel

We at Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers are committed and readily available to help you navigate this uncharted territory. Our legal team is paying close attention to quickly changing adjustments to ensure your case continues to move forward during this time.

To schedule an appointment about your case with a member of our dedicated legal team, call Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers at (940) 293-2313 or visit us online today.

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