Child custody matters will be top priority in your divorce proceedings and the court will encourage flexibility in parenting time planning. 

The standard possession order or SPO that is part of a custody order establishes a schedule for the time each parent will spend with the child. 

About the SPO

The main goal of the standard possession order or SPO is to define the amount of time each parent will have with the child. The basic SPO allows for a couple of hours each Thursday night and on alternate weekends. The order also specifies the location for visitation exchanges and addresses any breaks in the routine, such as holidays and special events. You and the other parent can devise a schedule of your own, but if you cannot do so, the court will determine the SPO. 

Understanding terms

The SPO addresses possession and access. Possession of your child refers to the in-person time you can spend with your child. Access refers to noncustodial interaction with the child, meaning by phone, email, text messages, Skype or other social media. Access also allows you to attend your child’s extracurricular activities and to receive his or her school, medical and dental records. 

Benefits of parental agreement

You can tailor a schedule to suit your needs as long as you and the other parent can agree. In fact, the court encourages cooperation and flexibility. The court will want to know that the two of you are willing to work together to raise your child in a post-divorce world, that you can communicate effectively with regard to your child’s welfare and that your priority will always be the child’s best interests.