If you have a Standard Possession Schedule*, April is a very important month. Here are some tips to help make sense of what can be a confusing section of your court orders with respect to your children.
April 1st, Deadline for Non-Primary Parent to Designate their Summer Possession Period
Most standard possession schedule orders allow the non-primary (not custodial) parent to designate up to 30 days with the child(ren) during the summer. This is called summer possession.
- The Standard Possession Order* in the Texas Family Code provides that the non-custodial parent provide notice to the other parent of their summer designation by April 1.
- If the April 1 notice is timely, the summer visitation for the non-custodial parent can be broken up into two separate periods, separated by at least seven consecutive days each
- The period runs in between the day after the school id dismissed for the summer and ending not later than seven days before Fall semester starts
- If April 1st deadline is missed, the Texas Standard Possession Schedule Order generally gives the entire month of July to that non-custodial parent as summer possession.
- The non-custodial parent does not have to use all 30 days. However, we recommend doing so in order to build a stronger relationship with your child.
April 15th Deadline for Primary Parent to Choose a Weekend and Extended Summer Possession Week
- The Standard Possession Schedule offers the primary parent an option to choose one weekend (Friday evening to Sunday evening) during extended summer possession. He/she needs to give written notice by April 15th.
- The primary parent is also allotted a one week possession period to be designated prior to April 1st. This week cannot be during the extended possession allotted to the non-primary parent. If they miss the April 15 deadline, they can have the week by giving the other parent 14 days’ written notice.
- Summer visitation for primary custodial parent in this extended summer possession cannot override Father’s Day for fathers or the non-custodial (non-primary) parent’s extended summer possession.
Father’s Day Weekend:
Almost all standard possession orders give Father’s Day Weekend to the father. This means:
- Father’s Day weekend adds to the father’s possession;
- Father’s Day weekend does not replace or trade a weekend period of possession; it is an “extra summer weekend” for fathers; and
- Father’s Day weekend usually overrides other possession periods.
Comply with Your Order
Whether you provide notice or rely on the default July possession, after April 1st summer possession is set. Both parties may agree to change it the schedule. Put your changes — even agreed changes — in writing.
- Failure to allow the non-custodial parent their designated summer possession leaves you open to an enforcement action.
- Failure to allow the primary parent their weekend during extended summer possession leaves you open to an enforcement action.
Co-Parenting During Summer Possession
When it is within your power to cooperate with one another, please do so for the sake of your children. If you can work together to create a summer possession schedule that is better for all of you, please do. Put it in writing to prevent later misunderstandings.
* Standard Possession Schedule Overview:
In Texas, the law presumes that the Standard Possession Schedule Order is in the best interest of a child age 3 or older. See Texas Family Code Section 153.252.
The Standard Possession Schedule Order says that the parents may have possession of the child whenever they both agree. If the parents don’t agree, the non-custodial parent has the right to possession of the child at these times:
When the parents live within 100 miles of each other, the non-custodial parent has the right to possession:
|1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of every month,|
|Thursday evenings during the school year,|
|alternating holidays, and|
|an extended period of time (30 days) during summer vacation.|
When the parents live over 100 miles apart:
|the weekend schedule may be the same or reduced to one weekend per month,|
|there is no mid-week visit,|
|holidays are the same, and|
|the non-custodial parent has the child a longer period of time (42 days) during summer vacation and every spring break.|
If you have any questions about your current schedule or we can help you with a child custody issue, please contact our law office. We can assist with:
- Establishing Custody
- Custody Litigation
- Protective Orders
- Contested Custody Battles
- Parental Relocation
- Geographic Restriction
- Modifying Current Orders
- Gaining Access to Your Child
- Supervised Visitation