Child Custody Cases in Texas
As the summer months approach, many divorced parents may find themselves confronted for the first time with the boundaries of summer custody schedules.
Bineham & Gillen understands that court order jargon can be difficult to comprehend at times, so we’ve created this article to assist you in better understanding the summer visitation process. Read on to learn more about the most common summer custody details that divorced couples can expect.
How Does Summer Visitation Work in Texas?
Custodial Vs. Non-Custodial
When it comes to divorced couples, there are two types of parents: the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent. Children spend most of their time in the homes of their custodial parents, who have primary custody. Non-custodial parents adhere to a visitation schedule that has been established either by mutual agreement or by court order.
The court will generally agree with whatever the parents decide so long as it doesn’t negatively impact the children. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, however, the court will step in.
Standard Possession Order
A court-ordered summer visitation schedule is called a Standard Possession Order in Texas. It begins the day after the child’s school dismisses for the summer and ends seven days before school resumes. A Standard Possession Order permits visits between custodial and non-custodial parents throughout the summer months.
Expanded Standard Possession Order
A divorced couple may be granted an Expanded Standard Possession Order in certain circumstances. The only detail that differs in this situation is the amount of time that a parent may be allowed to spend with their child during the summer.
Non-custodial parents are granted an additional 12 days (from 30 to 42) and are required to provide written notice to the custodial parent by April 1st. Non-custodial parents may also opt out of using the additional days, which will then become available to the custodial parent.
Summer Visitation for the Custodial Parent
During the summer, custodial parents have two periods of possession. The first weekend must take place within the non-custodial parent’s possession term. This is their summer weekend possession, and it should extend from Friday to Sunday. Here are a few of the most common conditions for summer weekend possession:
- Children must be picked up and returned to the non-custodial parent’s house by the custodial parent
- By April 15th, the custodial parent must send a written notice to the non-custodial parent informing them of the weekend they have chosen.
- If notice of the chosen weekend is not given to the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent has waived possession of the summer weekend.
The second weekend is the custodial parent’s extended summer possession. It should follow the same conditions as the first.
Summer Visitation for the Non-Custodial Parent
By law, the non-custodial parent has 30 days of summer custody and have the option of using the 30 days all at once or breaking them in two periods.
Custodial parents have until April 1st to set visitation schedules for the summer. Otherwise, possession will default to July 1st through July 31st until you notify the court otherwise. If the non-custodial parent lives more than 100 miles from their child, the possession period is switched to June 15th through July 27th. In Texas, the possession period begins and ends at 6:00 p.m.
Contact Bineham & Gillen!
Summer child custody arrangements can be challenging at times, especially for newly divorced families. If you are unable to create a reasonable summer timetable or are struggling to understand a court-ordered schedule, Bineham & Gillen is here to help. With over 30 years of experience in family law, we have the knowledge and experience you need to reach a fair and timely settlement.