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Establish an awesome holiday visitation schedule with the Standard Possession Order

Posted by Joshua Tisdale | Nov 10, 2022 | 0 Comments

Holidays are usually a joyful time for families. But sometimes, especially for families that have gone thru a break-up, the emotional problems impact the family, making the joy of the season clouded by sadness. 

The greatest present children can have during this time of the year is proactive coordination of all holiday activities to see both parents and experience the joy of the season with their whole family. When the Holiday Visitation arrangements fail, the children are the ones who suffer.

"This year, create a visitation schedule that allows you to be Jolly all the way!"

A parenting schedule provides parents with the guidelines they require to negotiate co-parenting. 

It addresses:

  • exchange times
  • weekday and weekend visits
  • holidays
  • Your child's birthday
  • Spring break
  • Summer break
  • Other important events.

Before we talk about the structure and schedules for visitation, let's review some essential concepts that intervene in this process. 

Standard Possession Order 

A standard possession order (SPO) is included in majority custody decisions and details the plan for each parent's time with the kid. Parenting time is referred to in custody orders as access and possession. The basic SPO specifies the time and circumstances under which the noncustodial parent may possess the kid.


It is a legal word for the relationship between a parent or guardian and a kid. Custody refers to where a kid will reside, what school the child will attend to who has the authority to make medical choices for the child.

Rights and Duties

The two main components of custody agreements define the essential decisions that a conservator has the legal authority to make on behalf of the child.

The two main components of custody agreements define the essential decisions that a conservator has the legal authority to make on behalf of the child. It addresses:

  • Education
  • Religion
  • Medical 
  • Mental health
  • Legal rulings
  • Determines who has possession of the kid and when they have it.
Custodial Parent

The managing conservator is another term for the custodial parent. This parent is usually the primary caregiver for the child.

Noncustodial Parent

They are also known as possessory conservators. Their rights are determined by the custody order issued by the court. These parents will often have access to the child on a set timetable.


Possession of your child implies you can see the child in person and direct where the kid goes. It is your time to spend with your child.


Access means you can interact with your child via phone, text messages, FaceTime, Skype, or other social media. You can also attend your child's extracurricular activities and access school, medical, and dental records.

In possession schedules for children under three, Texas allows for an "under-three provision." This clause permits the noncustodial parent to receive extended visiting hours based on the child's age. There will be overnight visits once the kid reaches the age of three.


Texas Holiday Possession Schedule

The following information describes the "default" and "election" timelines. This is the bare minimum of time that a noncustodial parent has.

* When conservators live over 100 miles from each other, the Non-Custodial parent gets each Spring Break instead of alternating.

These special occasions can also be considered when planning a visitation schedule. 

  • Religious holidays
  • State holidays
  • Days when your child is out of school, like teacher preparation days
  • School vacation time, like summer break
  • Other special occasions

The court order is the obligatory timetable when you and the other parent disagree. Parents are encouraged to collaborate and be flexible with the courts. You and the other parent can agree on any parenting plan/visitation schedule you wish. Preschool, primary, and high school programs are available for children. Children benefit when their parents make plans that meet the requirements of their family.

Suppose you and the other parent agree on a new or modified timetable. The court will not impose that timetable in that case; it is up to you and the other parent to follow through on your agreement.


Summer Visitation Schedule 

In this case, the planning and determination of time contemplate the distance of the parent's residence. 

During the summer, the noncustodial parent is awarded 30 consecutive days and must provide notice to the other parent by April 1st of the 30 days they want, or it will automatically default to July 1-31st.

The primary parent (custodial parent) can have a weekend visitation during the 30 days if they provide notice of the date by April 15th.

If the parents live more than 100 miles apart, the noncustodial parent is entitled to 42 days of summer vacation. The parent must give notification of their 42-day possession time (which can be divided into two periods) by April 1st; otherwise, it will automatically default to June 15th through July 27th.

The primary parent then can have two non-consecutive weekend visitations during the 42 days if they provide notice by April 15th.


Exchange locations 

During child custody transfers, dropping off or picking up your child from their other parent may be upsetting for all parties. Still, if you follow these recommendations, you may avoid as much turmoil as possible and have your child custody swap go as smoothly as possible.

      • Make exchanges in public, consider finding common ground for all sides, and keep the possibility of lowering travel time in mind.
      • Be on time and mindful of the time of others.
      • Don't bring anybody else.
      • Make no last-minute modifications.
      • Be prepared.


Unique visitation schedules 

Many parents discover that a regular possession schedule does not work for them for various reasons. As a result, many people create customized possession schedules suited to their specific requirements. Parents will often adopt a week-on/week-off visitation arrangement in which each parent switches custody every week.

Here are a couple of examples:

These schedules' numbers reflect the number of days for each parent. For instance, In 3-4-4-3, Parent One has three days, Parent Two has four days, Parent One has four days, Parent One has four days, and Parent Two has three days. Parents then adjusted the timetables.

  • 3-4-4-3: In this arrangement, parents have the same three consecutive days of the week, and the fourth day rotates. One parent may have Monday-Wednesday off, while the other has Friday-Sunday off. Thursday switches back and forth. Weekends only alternate in this plan if a Saturday or Sunday is designated as the day that rotates back and forth.
  • 5-2-2-5: This is the schedule to try if you prefer to alternate weekends with the kids. In this schedule, each parent has custody on the same two consecutive days of the week, either Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday. The weekend alternates between the parents.
  • The 2-2-3 custody arrangement allows your children to see both parents as much as possible without transferring every other day. Parent One has custody for two days every week, followed by Parent Two for the next two days. The children then return to Parent One for three days. Parents flipped the schedules the following week; Parent Two had two days, Parent One had two days, and then Parent Two had three days.

Possession schedules come in all shapes and sizes, depending on which plan works for you and your child(ren).


Consider these recommendations to increase your chances of having a balanced schedule.

  • Keep your child's best interest in mind at all times.
  • Consider your child's specific requirements.
  • Allow your child to have regular contact with both parents (as long as it is in the child's best interests).
  • Maintain sibling connections (if it is in their best interests).
  • Consider both parents' work schedules and the distance between their residences.
  • Consider a plan that evolves with the kids. A plan that works for a two-year-old may not work for a kid of school age.
  • Write your schedule in specific and relatable language as time passes. 
  • Try to be flexible.
  • Communicate
  • Contact a Skilled Family Law Attorney

Unfortunately, most families wait too long to arrange visitation plans, and dealing with family matters may be difficult, especially during the holidays. However, you don't need to worry about whether you will be able to visit your child during this season.  If you cannot establish a visitation arrangement or feel the other parent may deny you visitation. In that case, you should contact an attorney immediately. 

The Tisdale Law Firm has an experienced family law team that will work to reach a solution that allows your family to thrive and enjoy the holidays. 

About the Author

Joshua Tisdale

As a father of 9 I understand first hand the issues that most families run into. From child custody and child support, to termination of parental rights and adoption, and even probate, I can empathize with your case. I know how to synthesize information and make it understandable and relatable to...


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