This is another post in my Super Simple FAQs series…
What is visitation in Texas?
Or What is the Texas Standard Possession Schedule?
In Texas, visitation is the loose term for the periods of possession of or access to children of parents who are no longer or never have been married to each other. Texas has certain guidelines in the law for visitation or periods of possession called the Texas Standard Possession Schedule. The first step in deciding who gets the children when is to look at who has been appointed the “primary parent” deciding the children’s primary residence. That person will have the child at all times not awarded to the secondary parent. The secondary parent will be presumed to have at least the Texas Standard Possession Schedule. A court may give more of less than the Texas Standard Possession Schedule based on the particular circumstances of the family.
There are three main categories within the Texas Standard Possession Schedule — possession for parents who live within 100 miles of each other, possession for parents who live more than 100 miles apart, and holiday possession periods that apply regardless of distance.
For parents who live within 100 miles of each other, the secondary parent will get the child every Thursday during the school year from 6 to 8 pm; every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend of a month from Friday to Sunday; 30 days during the summer; and every other Spring Break. For parents who live more than 100 miles apart, the secondary parent may choose to have every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend, or that parent may elect to have one weekend a month at his or her choice with notice to the other parent of which weekend is chosen each month. Additionally, when the parents live far apart, the secondary parent will get 45 days with the child each summer and every Spring Break. Parents who live far apart do not get Thursday periods, for obvious reasons.
Holidays are shared between the parents, regardless of distance, with alternating periods for Thanksgiving, the first half of Christmas break, and the second half of Christmas break. One year, one parent will have Thanksgiving and the second half of Christmas break, which the other parent will have the first half of Christmas break. That will flip the next year. Each year, the mother will have Mother’s Day weekend and the Father will have Father’s Day weekend. Other holidays such as Easter, July 4th, or Halloween are not addressed in the rules and therefore just follow with the other provisions of the schedule.
The secondary parent who lives within 100 miles has the right to choose certain expansions as to the Thursday and weekend periods of possession, requesting to pick up the child from school or return to school at the end of his or her period.