Understanding Texas Summer Standard Possession Order
In divorces involving children, a visitation schedule for each parent’s time with their children is included in the final decree of divorce. Some terms often used interchangeably are custody, possession and access, and visitation. Texas has what is called a Standard Possession Order (SPO) that serves as a guide in dividing parenting time, and it is ordered effective by judges when couples cannot agree on a visitation schedule. The section of the Standard Possession Order I receive the most questions on is the summer portion of the order. The following is a breakdown of the summer possession schedule for couples that reside less than 100 miles apart.
- 30 days of their choice in the summer, in addition to the standard 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends
- Father’s Day Weekend, if the noncustodial parent is the Father (an agreement can be made for same-sex couples)
- Must designate the 30 days by April 1 (the method of notice is usually determined in the decree or order)
- The 30 days can be split into 2 periods of at least 7 days each
- If no designation is made by April 1, the default is July1 – July31
- Father’s Day Weekend, if the custodial parent is the Father (an agreement can be made for same-sex couples)
- Gets to choose two weekends that would originally belong to the noncustodial parent
- Only one weekend can be inside of the 30 days chosen by the noncustodial parent
- Must designate the weekend that is inside the 30 days by April 15 (the method of notice is usually determined in the decree or order)
- Must give 14 days advanced notice for the other weekend
If the noncustodial parent has an extended summer possession from July 1 – July 31, the custodial parent can choose to have the child or children one weekend in July. The custodial parent must give notice by April 15. In addition, the custodial parent can choose to have the child or children one weekend in either June or August that, would otherwise, belong to the noncustodial parent. The custodial parent must give 14 days notice.
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