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Texas Supreme Court’s Seventh Emergency Order: What is the Impact on Possession Agreements?

Jeff Shore | March 27, 2020

Texas Supreme Court’s Seventh Emergency Order: What is the Impact on Possession Agreements?

On March 24th, the Texas Supreme Court issued several emergency orders regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) state of disaster. Clients need to understand, the seventh and most recent emergency order does not modify any of the Court’s prior orders, but supplements and clarifies. GoransonBain Ausley partner Jeff Shore reviews useful knowledge to possess when navigating Texas’ shelter-in-place orders. 

Will the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order change your possession schedule?

The Texas Supreme Court has ordered that unless both parents agree to a change of schedule, the parents must continue to follow their existing Court ordered possession schedules. Further, school closures do not operate to modify the school calendar that existed before the Covid-19 emergency, and the school closures do not extend Spring Break.

“For purposes of determining a person’s right to possession of and access to a child under a court-ordered possession schedule, the existing trial court order shall control in all instances.”

This order applies to and clarifies possession schedules in Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. This includes divorce suits that have child-related orders. For purposes of determining a person’s right to possession of and access to a child under a court-ordered possession schedule, the existing trial court order shall control in all instances.

Possession of and access to a child shall not be affected by any shelter-in-place order or other order restricting movement issued by a governmental entity that arises from an epidemic or pandemic, including the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

If a parent resides in an area, like Dallas, Tarrant or Travis County, where a “shelter at home” order is in effect, the parents should continue to follow their Court ordered schedule for possession of their children.

What happens if a parent cannot travel or does not follow the court-approved possession schedule?

If a parent is ill and cannot travel or does not want to release the child back to the other parent, arrangements can and should be made for delivery or transport of the child. Based on the order of the Texas Supreme Court, there could be consequences if a parent uses the Covid-19 state of disaster as an excuse to violate their current court order.

How can we help?

If you have questions regarding the impact of the Texas Supreme Court order on your possession schedule, Please contact us or complete the Contact Us Form. We will listen to your concerns and connect you with a family lawyer that has the expertise you need. 

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Jeff is a highly experienced litigator, mediator, and collaborative law attorney. With such a versatile skill set, he is exceptionally equipped to advise clients on the best approach to resolve their family law matter, and achieve an outcome that is ultimately successful. Jeff manages the full range of family law issues, with special expertise in high net worth business and complex property cases. To find out more about Jeff Shore click here.

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