What Is The Standard Summer Visitation In Texas?
A Standard Possession Order in Texas provides visitation to both custodial and non-custodial parents for the summer months, which begin the day after the child(ren)’s school releases for summer break and ends seven days prior to the day school resumes. Order language can be daunting, however. At Nickols & White, Fort Worth family lawyers, we want to simplify summer visitation language for you.
When is summer visitation for the non-custodial parent?
The non-custodial parent is given 30 days of continuous, or extended, possession for the summer, and that parent has until April 1st to provide written notice to the custodial parent designating when the parent will exercise that 30 days. The 30 days can be used all at once or broken up into two separate periods, so long as each period is at least seven days long. If the non-custodial parent does not provide notice by April 1st, then the parent’s summer possession will begin on July 1st and end on July 31st. Regardless of whether notice is provided, the possession periods will both begin and end at 6:00 p.m.
It is important to note that the extended summer possession is in addition to the non-custodial parent’s regular 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends.
When is summer visitation for the custodial parent?
The custodial parent is given two periods of access during the summer that would otherwise belong to the non-custodial parent. The first of these is one weekend that falls within the non-custodial parent’s extended possession, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on that Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. the following Sunday. This is considered the custodial parent’s summer weekend possession. This period of possession is subject to a couple of conditions: (1) the custodial parent must pick the child(ren) up from the non-custodial parent’s residence and return the child(ren) there as well; and (2) the custodial parent must provide written notice to the non-custodial parent of the weekend chosen by April 15th. If notice is not provided to the non-custodial parent of the chosen weekend, then the custodial parent has waived the summer weekend possession.
The second summer possession period awarded to the custodial parent is considered the custodial parent’s extended summer possession. This gives the custodial parent one weekend that would typically be one of the non-custodial parent’s regular 1st, 3rd, or 5th weekends, and falls outside of the non-custodial parent’s extended summer possession. Just as the summer weekend possession, this weekend period of possession would begin at 6:00 p.m. on that Friday and end at 6:00 p.m. the following Sunday. Likewise, the custodial parent would have to
pick up and drop off the child(ren) at the non-custodial parent’s residence. The conditions for this period of possession, however, are slightly more relaxed. In order to exercise this possession, the custodial parent must give written notice to the non-custodial parent of the chosen weekend either by April 15th or 14 days prior to the weekend selected.
If Mom is the custodial parent, Father’s Day weekend may not be chosen for these periods of possession.
What if I have an Expanded Standard Possession Order?
In the case of an Expanded Standard Possession Order, the terms of possession (such as notices and beginning and end times) remain unchanged. But there are differences as to time length.
For the non-custodial parent, an Expanded Standard Possession Order bumps the extended summer possession up from 30 days to 42 days. The 42 days must still be exercised in not more than two periods, each being at least seven days long. If the non-custodial parent does not provide notice by April 1st, the extended summer possession begins on June 15th and ends on July 27th.
If any period of the non-custodial parent’s extended summer possession exceeds 30 days, then the custodial parent may choose two nonconsecutive weekends, instead of one, to take possession of the child(ren) during that time. Just like with a Standard Possession Order, the custodial parent must provide notice by April 15th, or else the summer weekend possession will be waived.
As extended summer possession, the custodial parent may designate 21 days that the non-custodial parent may not take possession of the child(ren), so long as the custodial parent provides notice of those dates by April 15th and the dates do not interfere with the non-custodial parent’s extended summer possession.