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Visitation and Standard Possession Order

Visitation and Standard Possession Order in Texas

In the state of Texas, child custody and visitation is often decided by the Standard Possession Order (SPO). The court will often make the assumption that the SPO is in the best interest of the child if the child is three years of age or older. If the child is under the age of three, the court will order custody and visitation that is appropriate under the circumstances. Likely, the court will enter a SPO to take effect on the child’s third birthday. As parents, if you want more visitation than the SPO provides for, or if one parent wants less visitation time or requests supervised visits, then they must show cause to the court and show how granting the request is in the best interest of the child.

Standard Possession Order

Outlined below is a condensed version of the visitation schedule or SPO as it applies to the non-custodial parent’s right to possession of or access to their child. While quite detailed and complicated, it is issued in many child custody matters and is legally enforceable.

Listed below is a condensed version of the default visitation schedule or SPO as it applies to the non-custodial parent’s right to possession of or access to their child. While quite detailed and complicated, it is issued in many child custody matters and is legally enforceable.

Weekday and Weekends

  • Every Thursday night during the regular school term (pickup can be after school or at 6:00 p.m. with return at 8:00 p.m. or the next morning).
  • The first, third and fifth weekend (if there is one) of each month; pickup can be after school Friday or at 6:00 p.m. with return at 8:00 p.m. Sunday or on Monday morning. If there is a Thursday or Monday school holiday or a teacher in-service day, the weekend will expand to include the holiday or in-service day.
    • If the custodial parent has the child on the child’s birthday, then the noncustodial parent will have possession from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the child’s birthday.

Holidays

  • Holiday visitation supersedes all rules of regular visitation.
  • Parents will alternate Thanksgiving with the noncustodial parent having possession of the child for Thanksgiving in odd–numbered years.
  • Christmas visitation is divided into two halves: The first half includes the date that school ends for the holiday until noon on December 28th. The second half is from noon on December 28th until school resumes at the end of the holiday. The noncustodial parent has the child for the first half in even-numbered years and the second half in odd-numbered years.
  • Parents will alternate Spring Break with the noncustodial parent getting the even-numbered years.

Summer Visitation

  • Weekend visitation continues during the summer, but is subject to summer rules.
  • The noncustodial parent has possession of the child for the entire month of July.
  • Summer possession depends on notice that must be given in April, and whether the parents live 100 miles or less from each other (different rules apply depending on the distance between the two homes).
  • The custodial parent is entitled to possession one weekend during the noncustodial parent’s summer visitation.

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