Originally published by Law Office of Bryan Fagan.
Certain professions such being an airline employee have unique custody
situations. As discussed in a previous blog regarding firefighters the
readers of our blog will know that in Texas there is a presumption that
the Standard Possession Schedule is in the “best interest of the
However, for many airline employees that schedule is not compatible for
someone who has an airline employees’ work schedule. In today’s
blog, we will tackle what rights an airline employee has in regard to
child custody and visitation during a
Airline Employee Possession Schedules
If Parents Can Agree
The easiest solution is if parents can agree then just about any customized
schedule can be worked out to accommodate the airline employee.
Texas Family Code §153.255 states that “the court may render
an order for period of possession of a child that vary from the standard
possession order based on the agreement of the parties.”
If the case is settled without mediation a judge may still overrule a parent’s
schedule. One way to ensure that this does not happen is to settle the
case in mediation.
I have listed a suggested airline employee schedule from the Advanced Family
Law Conference further down.
If Parent’s Can Not Agree
However, if parents are unable to agree then the case will need to go to
court and a Judge will dictate the terms of possession. As mentioned earlier
it will be necessary to establish that a Standard Possession Order is
not in the best interest of the child. This is something courts are reluctant to do.
However, there are avenues in the family law for making just such an argument.
Under the family code:
- Texas Family Code §153.002 provides: “The best interest of the
child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining
the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”
- Texas Family Code §153.001 provides: “(a) The public policy
of this state is to: (1) assure that children will have frequent and continuing
contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest
of the child;”
- The Texas Family Code §153.251(b) elaborates on the policy of Texas
to “encourage frequent contact between a child and each parent for
periods of possession that optimize the development of a close and continuing
relationship between each parent and child.”
- Texas Family Code §153.253 provides: “The court shall render
an order that grants periods of possession of the child as similar as
possible to those provided by the standard possession order if the work
schedule or other special circumstances of the managing conservator, the
possessory conservator, or the child, or the year-round school schedule
of the child, make the standard order unworkable or inappropriate.”
Airline Employee Schedule
(c) Variable Schedule
The Court finds that FATHER is currently employed as an airline pilot with
______________ Airlines and, due to his work and flight schedule, he is
currently unable to exercise predictable periods of possession occurring
on the same days of each month. The Court finds that FATHER receives his
work and flight schedule on or about the same day of each month and that
the schedule sets out the hours FATHER is to work the following month.
IT IS ORDERED that within 48 hours of receiving his monthly work schedule
from his employer, FATHER shall provide a true and correct copy of his
schedule to MOTHER by hand-delivery or by facsimile, and shall designate
his periods of possession in accordance with this order, by using the
form attached to this order as Exhibit A. Upon receipt of FATHER’s
schedule and designation of periods of possession, MOTHER shall promptly
notify FATHER of any conflict in scheduling and both parties shall work
together to resolve any such conflict. In the event FATHER agrees to modify
his designation of a period of possession in response to MOTHER’s
notification, FATHER shall have the right to possession of the child during
the alternate periods of possession he agrees to take.
Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Possession Order, FATHER
shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:
Two weekends of his choice each month, beginning at [select one: 6:00 P.M./the
time the child’s school is regularly dismissed/or specify other
time elected between school dismissal and 6:00 P.M.], on Friday and ending
at [select one: 6:00 P.M. on the following Sunday/the time the child’s
school resumes after the weekend].
- Weekend Possession Extended by a Holiday
Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Possession Order, if a
weekend period of possession by FATHER begins on a Friday that is a school
holiday during the regular school term or a federal, state, or local holiday
during the summer months when school is not in session, or if the period
ends on or is immediately followed by a Monday that is such a holiday,
that weekend period of possession shall begin at [select one: 6:00 P.M./the
time the child’s school is regularly dismissed/or specify other
time elected between school dismissal and 6:00 P.M.] on the Thursday immediately
preceding the Friday holiday or school holiday or end [select one: at
6:00 P.M. on that Monday holiday or school holiday/at 6:00 P.M. on that
Monday holiday or at the time school resumes after that school holiday],
One weekday of his choice (excluding Fridays) each week during the regular
school term, beginning at [select one: 6:00 P.M./the time the child’s
school is regularly dismissed/or specify other time elected between school
dismissal and 6:00 P.M.] and ending at [select one: 8:00 P.M./the time
the child’s school resumes the following day].
IT IS ORDERED that the preceding Possession Order shall apply until such
time as FATHER is no longer employed as an airline pilot. In the event
FATHER is no longer employed as an airline pilot, IT IS ORDERED that the
conservators shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:
INCLUDE STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER
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