How Does Summer or Extended Summer Period of Possession Work in a Standard Possession Order?
During the summer breaks, parents or guardians find themselves arguing over who gets to spend time with the child, when, and for how long.
In a Standard Possession Order, the general (standard) boilerplate languages per the Texas Family Code read:
“if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (2), provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and
“if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year or gives the possessory conservator 14 days’ written notice on or after April 16 of each year, the managing conservator may designate one weekend beginning not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by the possessory conservator will not take place, provided that the weekend designated does not interfere with the possessory conservator’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.”
Terms in Texas Family Law
Let’s start with the terminologies:
1) Possession means you possess or have the child in your care.
2) Period of possession means the TIME or WHEN you have your child in your care. It could be days such as weekends, holidays, or summer. Also, at this time, you can make decisions for your child, except for supervised visitations.
3) Access means the ability, right, or permission to interact with the child via electronic communication such as phone calls, texts messaging, or video conference. Additionally, you may obtain the child’s school/medical records, attend lunches, and participate/be involved in his activities.
4) Primary Parent or Custodial Parent is the parent who designates where the child lives with or without geographical restrictions.
5) Possessory conservator or Non-custodial Parent is the non-primary parent or the parent who does not live primarily with the child.
6) Parenting plan
is the parents’ schedule and plan for visiting and taking care of a child. It has provisions for financial support
of the child, as well as the parents’ rights and duties.
What is the schedule in a Standard Possession Order?
In Texas, a Standard Possession Order also known as SPO gives the possessory conservator (the non-primary parent) time with the child that is similar to a 60/40. The Order or Decree (Divorce Decree
) is a document signed by a judge giving an order or rules. It tells the parents or guardians who stays with child, for how long and when.
Some parents opt for equal time with their children, such as an alternating week-schedule.
Either way, keep in mind that the court’s standard is about what is in the child’s best interest, not parent’s convenience. However, a court may make allowance for a parent’s schedule
. For example, a dad who works off-shore or a military mom may customize her visiting schedule.
If the parents or guardians lives 100 miles or less apart, then the SPO provides for:
- Weekend access beginning on 1st, 3rd and 5th Fridays at 6 pm and ending on Sunday at 6p.m.
- Thursdays 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. during school year.
- Summer, holidays, and special days such as child’s birthday, Mother’s day, or Father’s Day.
Summer Possession in Texas’ SPO?
The Order (see language above) gives Non-Custodial Parent a long summer, and it allows Custodial Parent to pick one weekend during the summer.
Assuming Dad is the Possessory Conservator and Mom is Primary Parent. Then –
– For Dad: If Dad gives a written notice to Mom by April 15th of each year, then Dad gets to pick his summer period with this child for 30 days. If Dad does not give written notice by April 15th, then Dad gets July 1 at 6 p.m. to July 31st at 6 p.m. of that year with Child. Then Dad continues with his general 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend – schedule.
– For Mom: If Mom gives Dad a written notice by April 1st of each year, then she can pick ONE weekend during Dad’s summer possession. This means she can pick ANY weekend during Dad’s summer with Child. But, if she does not give him notice or she gives a written notice after April 15th, then she can pick one weekend in June or August. She cannot pick any weekend in July, and she must give Dad 14-day notice.
If you do not have a court order, then there is no specific parenting plan that you can enforce in court. If you and the other parent or guardian are on good terms, that is great. However, should things or relations fall apart, there will be nothing to take back to court. In other words, the court cannot force the other parent to give you the child back or visit the child.
We can help you to file for custody of your child. Are you a guardian, you may be entitled to visitation rights and access?
Give us a call, (832) 529-1255 to get started or send us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.