The Legislature amended the Texas Family Code to provide courts with guidance in crafting possession and access orders for children under three years of age. Previously, the Legislature instructed courts to apply the standard possession order absent clear and convinging evidence that another arrangement would be in the child's best interest AS LONG AS the child is three years or older. All the law said about younger children was that the possesion order should be appropriate to their age and circumstances.
That has changed with the 82nd Legislature. Effective September 1, 2011, the Legislature has provided the following guidance for children under 3 years of age. Note that the guidelines are not as cut and dry as the standard possession order, but at the very least they provide an outline for argument before the court.
The courts have been instructed by the legislature to take all relevant factors into consideration, including:
Item 13 is broad and preserves the court's historical discretion in determining the best interests of a child based on the specific circumstances involving that child.