Standard Possession Order

The Standard Child Possession Order – Texas Family Code

When parents are involved in a divorce that includes children, they often times do not understand the Standard Possession Order visitation schedule.  It is important to keep in mind that, under certain circumstances, and depending on the age of a child, a Judge may alter the standard possession order in any way that serves the best interest of the child.  It is important to speak with your attorney about changes that can be made to the standard possession order, and the ones that each judge is most likely to make.

The following is the standard possession order for a parent who lives within 100 miles of their child under the Texas Family Code.

IT IS ORDERED that the conservators shall have possession of the child at times mutually agreed to in advance by the parties, and, in the absence of mutual agreement, it is ORDERED that the conservators shall have possession of the child under the specified terms set out in this Standard Possession Order.

(c)        Parents Who Reside 100 Miles or Less Apart

Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, when Possessory Conservator resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

  1. Weekends—

On weekends that occur during the regular school term, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed (or at 6:00 p.m) on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at the time the child’s school resumes after the weekend (or at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday).

On weekends that do not occur during the regular school term, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday.

  1. Weekend Possession Extended by a Holiday—Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, if a weekend period of possession by Conservator begins on a Friday that is a school holiday during the regular school term or a federal, state, or local holiday during the summer months when school is not in session, or if the period ends on or is immediately followed by a Monday that is such a holiday, that weekend period of possession shall begin at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed on the Thursday immediately preceding the Friday holiday or school holiday or end on that Monday holiday or school holiday at the time school resumes after that school holiday, as applicable.
  2. Thursdays—On Thursday of each week during the regular school term, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed (or at 6:00 p.m.) and ending at the time the child’s school resumes on Friday (or at 8:00 p.m. that same day).
  3. Spring Break in Even-Numbered Years—In even-numbered years, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed on the day the child is dismissed (or at 6:  p.m.) from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at the time school resumes after that vacation (or at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday).
  4. Extended Summer Possession by Possessory Conservator

With Written Notice by April 1—If Possessory Conservator gives  Managing Conservator written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, Possessory Conservator shall have possession of the child for thirty days beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending no later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation in that year, to be exercised in no more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, as specified in the written notice, provided that the period or periods of extended summer possession do not interfere with Father’s Day Weekend. These periods of possession shall begin and end at 6:00 p.m.

Without Written Notice by April 1—If Possessory Conservator does not give Managing Conservator written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, Possessory Conservator shall have possession of the child for thirty consecutive days in that year beginning at 6:00 p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on July 31.

Notwithstanding the Thursday periods of possession during the regular school term and the weekend periods of possession ORDERED for Possessory Conservator, it is explicitly ORDERED that Managing Conservator shall have a superior right of possession of the child as follows:

  1. Spring Break in Odd–Numbered Years—In odd-numbered years, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.
  2. Summer Weekend Possession by Managing Conservator—If Managing Conservator gives Possessory Conservator written notice by April 15 of a year, Managing Conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday during any one period of the extended summer possession by Possessory Conservator in that year, provided that Managing Conservator picks up the child from Possessory Conservator and returns the child to that same place and that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Father’s Day Weekend.
  3. Extended Summer Possession by Managing Conservator—If Managing Conservator gives Possessory Conservator written notice by April 15 of a year or gives Possessory Conservator fourteen days’ written notice on or after April 16 of a year, Managing Conservator may designate one weekend beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending no later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by Possessory Conservator shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Possessory Conservator’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day Weekend.

(e)        Holidays Unaffected by Distance

Notwithstanding the weekend and Thursday periods of possession of Possessory Conservator, Managing Conservator and Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

  1. Christmas Holidays in Even-Numbered Years—In even-numbered years, Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed(or at 6:00 p.m.) on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and Managing Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that Christmas school vacation.
  2. Christmas Holidays in Odd-Numbered Years—In odd-numbered years, Managing Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at the time the child’s school resumes after that Christmas school vacation.
  3. Thanksgiving in Odd-Numbered Years—In odd-numbered years, Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed (or at 6:00 p.m.) on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at the time the child’s school resumes after that Thanksgiving holiday (or at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday).
  4. Thanksgiving in Even-Numbered Years—In even-numbered years, Managing Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.
  5. Child’s Birthday—If a conservator is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child on the child’s birthday, that conservator shall have possession of the child and the child’s minor siblings beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m. on that day, provided that that conservator picks up the child from the other conservator’s residence and returns the child to that same place.
  6. Father’s Day Weekend—Father shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Father’s Day, provided that if Father is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, he shall pick up the child from the other conservator’s residence and return the child to that same place.
  7. Mother’s Day Weekend—Mother shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Mother’s Day, provided that if Mother is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, she shall pick up the child from the other conservator’s residence and return the child to that same place.

(g)        General Terms and Conditions

Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, the terms and conditions of possession of the child that apply regardless of the distance between the residence of a parent and the child are as follows:

  1. Surrender of Child by Managing Conservator—Managing Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Possessory Conservator at the beginning of each period of Possessory Conservator’s possession at the residence of Managing Conservator.

If a period of possession by Possessory Conservator begins at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed, Managing Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Possessory Conservator at the beginning of each such period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled. If the child is not in school, Possessory Conservator shall pick up the child at the residence of Managing Conservator at 6:00 p.m., and Managing Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Possessory Conservator at the residence of Managing Conservator at 6:00 p.m. under these circumstances.

  1. Surrender of Child by Possessory Conservator—Possessory Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Managing Conservator at the residence of Managing Conservator at the end of each period of possession.
  2. Return of Child by Possessory Conservator—Possessory Conservator is ORDERED to return the child to the residence of Managing Conservator at the end of each period of possession. However, it is ORDERED that, if Managing Conservator and Possessory Conservator live in the same county at the time of rendition of this order, Possessory Conservator’s county of residence remains the same after rendition of this order, and Managing Conservator’s county of residence changes, effective on the date of the change of residence by Managing Conservator, Possessory Conservator shall surrender the child to Managing Conservator at the residence of Possessory Conservator at the end of each period of possession.

If a period of possession by Possessory Conservator ends at the time the child’s school resumes, Possessory Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Managing Conservator at the end of each such period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled or, if the child is not in school, at the residence of Managing Conservator at [address].

  1. Surrender of Child by Possessory Conservator—Possessory Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Managing Conservator, if the child is in Possessory Conservator’s possession or subject to Possessory Conservator’s control, at the beginning of each period of Managing Conservator’s exclusive periods of possession, at the place designated in this Standard Possession Order.
  2. Return of Child by Managing Conservator—Managing Conservator is ORDERED to return the child to Possessory Conservator, if Possessory Conservator is entitled to possession of the child, at the end of each of Managing Conservator’s exclusive periods of possession, at the place designated in this Standard Possession Order.
  3. Personal Effects—Each conservator is ORDERED to return with the child the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession.
  4. Designation of Competent Adult—Each conservator may designate any competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable. IT IS ORDERED that a conservator or a designated competent adult be present when the child is picked up or returned.
  5. Inability to Exercise Possession—Each conservator is ORDERED to give notice to the person in possession of the child on each occasion that the conservator will be unable to exercise that conservator’s right of possession for any specified period.
  6. Written Notice—Written notice shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or postmarked before or at the time that notice is due.
  7. Notice to School and Managing Conservator—If Possessory Conservator’s time of possession of the child ends at the time school resumes and for any reason the child is not or will not be returned to school, Possessory Conservator shall immediately notify the school and Managing Conservator that the child will not be or has not been returned to school.

This concludes the Standard Possession Order.

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