Frequently Asked Questions
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.