Possession and Access in the time of Covid-19
The world as we know it has changed, at least for the immediate future. While many businesses and schools remain closed, parents of school-age children have found themselves in the position of asking many questions about their children who travel between houses. Here are a few details concerning possession and access questions that have been received over the last few weeks:
School is not meeting in-person…Does my possession schedule change?
Under Texas Law, possession of and access to children is governed by whatever order is controlling/in place. To the extent agreements concerning possession of and access to children are not agreed between parties, the fall back is always the language in the order. On April 27, 2020 the Texas Supreme Court signed its “Twelfth Emergency Order Regarding the Covid-19 State of Disaster.” Contained therein is the following language concerning how possession should not be altered by the Covid-19 pandemic:
In determining a person’s right to possession of and access to a child under a court-ordered possession schedule in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, 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 the pandemic. The original published school schedule shall also control, and possession and access shall not be affected by the school’s closure that arises from the pandemic. Nothing herein prevents parties from altering a possession schedule by an agreement if allowed by their court order(s), or courts from modifying their orders on an emergency basis or otherwise.
Twelfth Emergency Order Regarding the Covid-19 State of Disaster, paragraph 6.