Not only is COVID-19 causing concern across the globe, it is also affecting many families right here in Bexar County on a very personal level. We are referring to those parents that share custody or possession of their child(ren) with the other parent – those families that are governed by a Standard Possession Order (SPO).
Many times throughout a year, a parent will refer back to the words in the SPO to know who has possession on Christmas Day, what are the hours of possession for Mother’s Day, or when does the child need to be returned after a holiday. These are all normal questions that are answered in the SPO. However, in the midst of the ciaos that COVID-19 has caused and the county-wide school closures for both public and private schools, the following questions have been raised:
- Is this school closure considered extended Spring Break?
- Is this week off school a vacation?
- Is this week considered a holiday?
- When will my child be returned from the possessory parent?
- Do I get to keep possession of my child until “school resumes”?
During the last few days, many legal professionals have been reviewing and interpreting the words of the school districts and the SPO in an effort to give guidance to those families. The SPO language reads: “Spring Vacation…ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.” As you can see, based on the basic language, there was no clear answer to the questions.
In response to this uptick of family law concerns, the District Courts of Bexar County issued the following order this morning March 16, 2020:
ENFORCEMENT OF STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER FOR SPRING BREAK The Bexar County Civil District Judges are Enforcing the Standard Possession Order for Spring Break pursuant to the originally published school calendars.
What does this mean? It means that Spring Break ended on the date originally stated by the District before the COVID-19 disruptions began. For most districts in Bexar County, Spring Break ended on March 13, 2020, as such, any possessory parent should return the child(ren) by 6:00 p.m. on March 15, 2020.
Here is the link to the Order: https://www.bexar.org/DocumentCenter/View/26063/Enforcement-Standard-Possession-Order?bidId=