expanded standard visitation in Texas

What is expanded standard visitation?  The statutes governing expanded standard visitation can be found at Section 153.317 of the Texas Family Code.  To understand expanded standard, you must first understand standard visitation.

A discussion of a standard visitation order for Texas can be found here:

Expanded standard visitation simply adds time on to the standard possession order.  You can elect to add time on to the following times:

Weekend periods of possession, pursuant to §153.317(a)(1)(A) and (B) provides that you can pick up the child when school is dismissed on Friday and/or return the child when the child’s school resumes the following Monday.

Thursday periods of possession, pursuant to §153.317(a)(2)(A) and (B) provides that you can pick up the child when school is dismissed on Thursday and/or return the child when the child’s school resumes the following Friday.

Essentially this creates uninterrupted visitation from the end of school Thursday through the following Monday morning for a parent’s weekend possession.

There are more time available for holiday periods of possession and for extended weekends due to holidays.  These can all be found at §153.317 of the Texas Family Code.

If you notice above, I used the word “elect” for determining when these apply.  Under the code, the parent exercising visitation can “elect” these additional times provided as follows:

  1. The court finds that the expanded standard visitation times are in the best interest of the child; and
  2. The election is made before or at the time that the visitation order is entered; and
  3. The election is written and filed with the court or an oral statement is made in open court (i.e. at a hearing) on the record (a court reporter typing).

What does all that mean?  It means that if you are in a current lawsuit over a visitation order, and the court is ordering a standard possession order, you can elect to have any of the expanded standard visitation times set out in §153.317 if you file a written request with the court or request it at a hearing on the record, and the court thinks it is in the best interest of the child.

The important notes are that the person exercising visitation gets to choose, and that there must be a current lawsuit pending regarding visitation.  You cannot make these elections after an order is entered.

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30 Responses to expanded standard visitation in Texas

  1. Gina June 16, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    How does the Expanded Visitation Schedule impact the Summer months?

  2. Gina June 16, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    I’m sorry that I’m not clarifying. My specific questions are:
    (1) The non-custodial parent (father) has provided written notice for two 15-day periods during the summer, one in each of June & July. He does have extended possession and I’m just trying to find out if he still gets every Thursday evening through Friday morning.
    (2) Also, if his weekends resume for the remaining Summer break, does he pick them up at 6:00 or at the time “school ends” and return them on Monday morning, as he did during the school year?

  3. Chris Schmiedeke June 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    All the answers to your questions are in your order. You need to read your order carefully. If you do not understand it then you need to get an attorney to explain it to you. I do not have your order so I cannot answer your question. It is unclear if you have a standard possession order or not.

  4. Chris Schmiedeke June 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    That depends on whether it is a standard possession order or not. If it is, then the the weekends continue and the weekdays do not.

  5. Jewelee October 27, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    I have an interesting question for this topic. If the noncustodial DOES elect expanded standard and it is in the court order but that parent is consistently having issues picking the child up from the school and is requiring the custodial parent to meet later on in the afternoon what recourse does the custodial parent have? There are no clauses in the court order stating that anything regarding this situation. Does the ncp automatically lose rights to that visit if they can not pick up as court order states if cp does not agree to meet at an alternate time?

  6. Chris Schmiedeke October 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    If you want to take away the expanded portion of the visitation then you will have to seek a court order to do so. Reasonable requests to modify the pick up time should be met. What is reasonable depends on who you ask I suppose. It is always better to err on the side of being reasonable. I suggest you run this by an attorney in your area before you make a decision on how to act or proceed.

  7. Aurora Jacinto August 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    My great-granddaughter’s parents went to court to modify child support status. The mother of the child signed off in court that she was giving the father expanded visitation rights effective August 1, 2012. Along with the modification she allowed him access on Thursday at 6 pm through Sunday at 5 pm. The catch was he would be given an extra day of visitation on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends of the month if he agreed that my husband nor I picked up the child or returned her back to her residence.
    We had a family disagreement about three years ago and even though the mother and the two little girls lived with us for over a year, she got very upset over the children wanting to be with me and she felt threatened so she decided to cut them from us cold turkey. I tried to explain that they need time to transition from being with us 24/7 and in their new residence but she would not listen. The children are 8 and 5 years of age. They have different fathers and the five year old’s father allows us time with her and she is very happy to spend time with us. The sad part is that she tells me her sister misses us and is not allowed to see us by her mother or father.
    Here is my question, can the father add us to school list of emergency contact and can be allowed to have lunch with our little great-granddaughter. She is entering Kindergarten this year and we would really like to continue to be a part of her school life as well as the weekends and holidays.
    Please respond, as we are anxious to know our options. Thank you so much.

  8. Aurora Jacinto August 28, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Will I get any feedback regarding my concerns stated above?

  9. Chris Schmiedeke August 28, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    If the school will allow it, yes.

  10. lpc September 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Hello,
    I have a question about “if you are in a current lawsuit over a visitation order, and the court is ordering a standard possession order, you can elect to have any of the expanded standard visitation times”.

    I have had signed/filed temporary orders for standard visitation for 14 months. I am trying to reach a final decree. Does this mean that my son’s father can elect to have expanded standard visitation in the final decree? In other words, does going from temporary orders to the final decree constitute a current lawsuit over visitation?

    Thank you.

  11. Melina December 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    i have a question, i recently, in August, signed in mediation for the father to have expanded SPO though i greatly disagreed with it since my daughter was so used to being in my care. She is only 2 1/2. I feel my attorney swayed me to agree with his attorney just to get the mediation over with that day. i did not want to sign anything, but was pressured to. Since final orders have not been signed yet can i still go back and fight for standard visitation? My daughter cries for me and when she is without me for 4 days i notice a change in her demeanor like she is upset i left her. I am scheduling a meeting with a therapist to see how negatively this affects her. it breaks my heart. i am going crazy not seeing her for 4 days and i work full time so i feel i get less time with her since he has more weekends, 1st, 3rd, 5th plus Thursdays overnight. i really dont think this is in the best interest for her and dont know what to do. please help.

  12. Amber December 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    My soon to be ex-husband and I both agree that we both want standard possession to go throughout the summer months. With our jobs, it is in the best interested of our children to continue with 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends as well as one day a week. Do I need to add a motion? Or can I put something in the SPO?

  13. Chris Schmiedeke January 8, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    It needs to be in your final decree of divorce before it is entered with the Court.

  14. Chris Schmiedeke January 8, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Most likely you will be held to your agreements in the Mediated Settlement Agreement.

  15. Angela January 11, 2013 at 2:56 am #

    Which takes precedence:
    Sample Temporary Orders:
    Weekend Possession Extended by a Holiday, Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this possession order.
    A. If a weekend period of possession of (name of parent ) coincides with a student holiday or a teacher In Service day that falls on a Monday during the regular school term as determined by the school in which the child is enrolled…the weekend possession shall end at the time school resumes AFTER that holiday.
    OR
    Christmas Holidays in even numbered years, – In even men red years beginning on 12-28, and ending at 6:00pm the day before school resumes after that Christmas school
    Vacation. NOTE during this Christmas Break, there was a teacher in service day on Monday, January 7,2013. Therefore, school did not resume until Tuesday January 8, 2013.

    So the unanswered question remains …
    Which situation is correct? 6:00pm after Christmas Break
    OR
    The Tuesday when the children actually return to school because of the teacher in service day on the preceding Monday?

    Your input is gratelt appreciated !

  16. Chris Schmiedeke January 11, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    Your answer is in your question. Holiday possession ends “the day before school resumes…”. What day did school resume for the child (not the teachers)? There’s your answer. Teacher in-service days are considered “holidays”.

  17. Beth Nelson March 6, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    I don’t understand why a parent with expanded visitation pays child support. It seems the children are basically with one or the other of their parents 50% of the time. So, why would one receive child support?

  18. Ginger Morado May 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    My husband was granted Extended Visitation beginning Thursdays at 6 pm and ending Sunday at 6 pm on the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend of each month. We get his children on the 5th weekend of May on the 30 and we gave the custodial parent written notice before April 1st to get the children for the month of June. The custodial parent advised my husband(non-custodial parent) that for the month of July the Extended Visitation is no longer in effect till August. The custodial parent stated that my husband(non custodial parent) will posses the children on Fridays at 6 pm till Sunday at 6 pm instead of him have possession of the children on Thursdays at 6 pm till Sunday at 6 pm. Is this how the Extended Visitation rules apply for the month of July? Any information on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  19. Maritza June 2, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    I got a concern the father of my chid has possesion and acess of my child every other weekend this is his first week taking her she took her sat but he has to bring her back that same day so sunday comes And he comes and pick her up again but my child doesnt want to leave with she starts crying and kicking but he taes her like that she crys so much that she throw up all over the seat and herself he brung her back and shd just crying acting tramatized like she litteraly didnt want to leave she was scare so he just started talking mess to me so basically after me cleaning her up and each time he would try to take she would start crying to the point she turn purple n she would kick him so i didnt let him take her. So what can i do

  20. Tan Huynh October 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    My child is currently 18 months old. I had agreed to a standard possession order when he turns 3 years old. However I am seeking to have this Standard Possession Order be changed to Expanded Possession Order. What is the likelihood that I can get the court to change it to Expanded? Thanks in advance

  21. jerry exum May 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    what if my son is 4 and i was granted the extened spo and get him thursdays over night/my ? is what time im i suppose to return him back on friday…he donesnt go to school yet..his mother is telling me i have to return back on friday at 8 a.m. but again he donesnt go to school/so what time can i return him back on friday

  22. Chris Schmiedeke May 26, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    When you order says you return them. If your order does not say, you need to fix your order. Contact a local attorney.

  23. Jay R September 26, 2016 at 8:34 am #

    My ex and I are currently in mediation for custody. Our children are 2 and 1 years old . She has decided standard visitation is the best thing for our current situation. Although I want expanded possession I understand that due to fact that the kids are under 3 years old, I will not get the extended SPO unless she agrees. We have agreed that when our oldest turns 3 this coming June the expanded agreement will go into affect for both children. Does the order have to specifically state the times of pick up and drop off or is it understood that once the expanded SPO goes into effect that the schedule will be as follows.
    1,3,5 weeks of the month . I would get them on Thursday set time till Monday morning at 8a.m. And
    2,4 weeks of the month on Thursday from set time till Friday morning at 8 a.m

  24. Jay R October 12, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    Still waiting for a response . TIA

  25. Randy Snyder December 8, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    Does the non-“primary” parent in an Expanded Standard Possession order pay Guideline support (Texas), the same amount as a regular Standard Possession order? It seems that an adjustment should be made for the additional parenting time. What is the % of time of Expanded vs Standard? (60/40? 50/50?) It seems pretty close to 50/50 for Expanded.

    Also, if 50/50 is agreed and one parent makes more than the other, in the state of Texas – is an offset used to determine child support if one parent earns more than the other?
    ie: (is this how it would be determined?)
    – Primary parent makes $30k/year net (child support = X25% for 2 kids = $576/month)
    – non-Primary parent makes $60k/year net (child support = X 25% for 2 kids = $1153/month)
    Non-primary parent pays $1153- $576 = $580/month
    It seems hardly fair for the non-primary to pay Support if he/she has the kids 50% of the time.

  26. Sara smith April 10, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    I have an extended or expanded spo, the non custodial parent ( father ) gets to pick up the children after school and keeps them till monday morning and returns the children to school on his weekend but on my weekend he gets thursday overnight and returns the children friday morning and i the custodial parent pick up the children from school. My question is this friday there is no school and is suppose to be my weekend ( custodial parent) does the non custodial parent still get Thursday? Our custody papers do not state anything about it.

  27. Chris Schmiedeke April 12, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    Review your order. It specifically lays out the timeline of when each party gets the children. In a standard possession order there should be no overlapping time.

    Be sure to check out my website at http://www.chrislawyer.com as I am moving my blog over there as “articles”.

  28. Anonymous August 15, 2017 at 9:08 am #

    If I currently have a Standard Possession Order can I request a modification to an Extended Standard Possession Order (extending my Thursday’s and weekends start/end time)

  29. Vanessa Dominguez September 6, 2017 at 7:10 am #

    Can i request to change my standard possession order to the extended possession order?

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