Contact Us Today! 254-634-8600

Standard Possession Order

Custody 20lettering

                The first thing to understand about the Texas Standard Possession Order is that while the basics are generally the same from order to order, there are some areas where changes can vary greatly. Where exchanges take place, and when Mother's Day and Father's Day possessions end are just some examples of where specific orders may differ. It is imperative that you read your specific order to determine what your rights are and the rights of the other parent. If you have questions, contact an attorney local to you or, if you are not in Texas but have a Texas order, an attorney local to where the child resides.

During School

                A question we often receive is, “does this apply if my kid is in day care?” The short answer is, “yes.” School is often defined in your order. The standard definition, as promulgated by the Texas Family Code, is, “the elementary or secondary school in which the child is enrolled or, if the child is not enrolled in an elementary or secondary school, the public school district in which the child primarily resides” (emphasis added.) If your child is not enrolled in school, whether because he or she is only 2 and presently stays at home with you, or is in day care, or the child is 15, but is homeschooled, anytime the word school is used in your standard possession order, you look to the calendar for the school district where the child resides. If you reside in Killeen ISD, Belton ISD, or Temple ISD, you can find links to the school calendars here <link>.

Weekends Extended by a Holiday

                Whether the parents live within 100 miles of each other or not, a parent's weekend possession may be extended if the child's school is out on the Friday before or the Monday after the weekend. If this is the case (e.g., the parent elects to have the weekend before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the child's school is out for MLK Day, then that parent would have from 6:00 p.m. the Friday before MLK day, until 6:00 p.m. on the following Monday, instead of Sunday.

Within 100 Miles

The Standard Possession Order is divided into three sections: When parents live within 100 miles of each other, when they live more than 100 miles away from each other, and periods of possession that don't depend on the distance between the parents.

Weekends

                If the parents reside within 100 miles of each other, the non-possessory parent (the parent without the right to designate the residence of the child) has the right to possess the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Fridays of each month until 6:00 p.m. the following Sunday. Notice that this is not every other weekend. There are some weekends that the non-possessory parent will have two weekends in a row.

Thursdays

In addition to the weekend possessions, the non-possessory parent also has the right to possess the child from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. every Thursday.

Spring Break

                If the parents reside within 100 miles of each other, they will each have a Spring Break with the child. The non-possessory parent will have the child from 6:00 p.m. the day school is released from school for Spring Break until 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes from Spring Break in even years.

The possessory parent (the parent with the right to determine the residence of the child) will have the child from 6:00 p.m. the day school is released from school for Spring Break until 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes from Spring Break in odd years.

Summer

                If the parents reside within 100 miles of each other, the non-possessory parent will have the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on July 1 of each year until 6:00 p.m. July 31 of each year. The non-possessory parent will have the child for one weekend during the non-possessory parent's summer vacation from 6:00 p.m. on Friday until 6:00 p.m. the following Monday, as long as he or she provides 14 days' notice and all of the exchanges are done at the non-possessory parent's residence.

                If the non-possessory parent wants possession of the child for a different 30-day period, he or she can provide written notice to the other parent by April 1 of each year specifying that 30 day period, as long as it doesn't begin earlier than 6:00 p.m. the day school is released for Summer and cannot end later than 6:00 p.m. seven days before school resumes from Summer break.

More than 100 Miles

Weekends

                If the parents reside more than 100 miles from each other, the non-possessory parent (the parent without the right to designate the residence of the child) can elect to keep the within 100 miles possession schedule or a different period of possession. If the non-possessory parent elects, he or she has the right to possess the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on one Friday of his or her choice each month until 6:00 p.m. the following Sunday. He or she can choose any weekend of the month as long as it doesn't conflict with another holiday listed as the other parent's time elsewhere in the order.

Spring Break

                If the parents reside more than 100 miles from each other, the non-possessory parent will have every Spring Break with the child from 6:00 p.m. the day school is released from school for Spring Break until 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes from Spring Break.

Summer

                If the parents reside more than 100 miles from each other, the non-possessory parent will have the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on June 15 of each year until 6:00 p.m. July 27 of each year. The non-possessory parent will have the child for two weekends during the non-possessory parent's summer vacation from 6:00 p.m. on Friday until 6:00 p.m. the following Monday, as long as he or she provides 14 days' notice and all of the exchanges are done at the non-possessory parent's residence.

                If the non-possessory parent wants possession of the child for a different 42 day period, he or she can provide written notice to the other parent by April 1 of each year specifying that 42 day period, as long as it doesn't begin earlier than 6:00 p.m. the day school is released for Summer and cannot end later than 6:00 p.m. seven days before school resumes from Summer break.

Holidays Regardless of Distance

                Parents have possession of the child for the following holidays regardless how far apart they live from each other. These possession periods also trump any other possession. For example, if the possessory conservator is the mother of the child and Mother's Day falls on the third weekend of the month, the father does not get the child for the third weekend, because mom gets the weekend of Mother's Day.

Christmas

                The Christmas holiday is broken into two possession periods; from 6:00 p.m. the day school is released for Christmas break until noon on December 28 of each year and noon on December 28 of each year until 6:00 p.m. the day before school resumes after the Christmas break. Sometimes these periods are approximately equal, sometimes they are not.

                In even years, the non-possessory parent gets the child for the first part of the Christmas break and the possessory parent gets the child for the second part. In odd years it is reversed, the possessory parent gets the child for the first part of the Christmas break and the non-possessory parent gets the child the second part.

Thanksgiving

                A good rule-of-thumb for Thanksgiving and Christmas is this: if you have the first part of Christmas break (the part of the winter break that Christmas actually falls on) then you do not get Thanksgiving. If you have Thanksgiving, you do not get the first part of Christmas break.

                In even years, the possessory parent has possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. the day school is released for Thanksgiving break until 6:00 p.m. the day before school resumes from Thanksgiving break.

                In odd years, the non-possessory parent has possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. the day school is released for Thanksgiving break until 6:00 p.m. the day before school resumes from Thanksgiving break.

Child's Birthday

                The parent who doesn't have possession of the child on his or her birthday has the right to possession of the child from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on the child's birthday as long as both exchanges are at the other parent's residence.

Father's Day

                The father always has possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. the Friday before Father's Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Father's Day.

Mother's Day

                The mother always has possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. the Friday before Mother's Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Mother's Day.

Menu