A parent may demand a jury trial in a Texas custody case. After the jury decides certain foundational issues, the trial court then determines the specific terms and conditions. The Texas Family Code prohibits the court from contravening the jury’s verdict on certain specified issues, including primary residence. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 105.002.
A mother recently challenged a trial court’s possession order on the grounds it contravened the jury’s verdict and was not in the child’s best interest. The father petitioned to be named joint managing conservator with the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence when the child was two months old. The jury found the mother should have the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence within the state of Texas. Following a bench trial on possession and access, the trial court orally ordered the father would have “week on/week off” possession.
The court issued a final order appointing the parents joint managing conservators with the mother having the exclusive right to designate the primary residence in Texas. The order also granted the father week-on/week-off possession until the child turned five and started kindergarten. In August 2022, the father would be subject to a standard possession order.