texas standard possession order de-mystified – summer possession

Another misunderstood part of the Texas Standard Possession Order is the summer possession schedule.

If the parent with visitation (not the custodial parent) gives the parent with custody notice by April 1st of a given year they can pick thirty days for their summer possession (or 42 days if they live over 100 miles from the child). This thirty day period cannot begin until the day after school lets out for summer break and cannot end later than 7 days before the child goes back to school.

This thirty days cannot be exercised in more than two periods of at least 7 consecutive days. This means that you cannot pick four one-week possessions, or thirty random days.

If the parent does not give written notice by April 1st they get July 1st through July 31st by default. For parents who live more than 100 miles apart the default time is June 15 through July 27th. Pick up and drop off times are 6:00 p.m.

Once the summer possession has been set by either notice having been sent or not, the parent with custody can then set their summer possession schedule.

If the parent with custody gives the visiting parent notice by April 15th of a year, they can choose one weekend during the visiting parent’s thirty day extended summer visitation to exercise visitation with the child. The visit begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ends at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and that parent must pick up the child and drop the child off back to the other parent to finish their thirty day summer visitation. This allows the custodial parent to not have to go thirty days without seeing the child. For parents who live over 100 miles from each other, the parent can choose two non-consecutive weekends provided the visiting parent is exercising more than thirty days for their summer possession. This means that if the visiting parent is using the full 42 days in a row, the other parent can choose two non-consecutive weekends under this provision.

In addition to this one weekend, the custodial parent can designate another weekend, outside of the thirty day summer possession, when the visiting parent would have otherwise had a weekend visit. Remember from my original standard possession order weekend post that the weekends continue through the summer when there is no extended summer visitation occurring.

To get this weekend, the parent must give the other parent written notice by April 15th of a year or 14 days written notice if after April 15th. This weekend cannot conflict with the other parents thirty day extended summer possession or Father’s day if the other parent is the father. This provision allows the custodial parent to plan summer vacations with the child.

If the parents live over 100 miles from each other, the custodial parent can choose 21 days during the summer that would have otherwise gone to the visiting parent provided they provide the notice above and provided that the days chosen do not conflict with the extended summer possession of the visiting parent or with father’s day if the visiting parent is the father.

In my next post I will discuss holiday visits under the Texas Standard Possession Order.

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156 Responses to texas standard possession order de-mystified – summer possession

  1. Chris Schmiedeke March 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm #


  2. darlane hill April 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Hi, for the extended summer possession, I chose July15th to August 14th. I sent him my dates before the deadline. He’s now telling me that i can’t choose those dates. I am the NCP. Does he have the right to tell me that I’m not able to choose those dates because he has plans? Am I able to choose any days I want or do we have to come to an agreement? Help Please.

  3. Chris Schmiedeke April 2, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    You are allowed to choose your dates. The only catch may be the end date. Check your order, it will usually tell you when you can begin and end summer possession, i.e. iy must end at least a week before school resumes after the summer break. Check that provision. As long as you are good there, then he will have to make the child available those dates.

  4. Faith May 21, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    I’m confused, still. NCP did not give written notice so it defaulted to July 1st-31st. Does the CP still get to pick a weekend? If so, what are the stipulations?

  5. Chris Schmiedeke May 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    You need to read and understand your order. Under a standard possession order, you have until April 15th to designate a weekend inside those thirty days. If you do not make that date, you do not get a weekend. You have the opportunity, however, to take another weekend outside those thirty days. You have to give 14 days notice to take one of the NCP’s weekends.

    I have posted many articles on this issue on my blog. Poke around and review those posts.

  6. Nisa Hunt May 31, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    I am the CP and my husband, the NCP, has expanded standard child custody with a Thursday night every week in addition to the 1st, 3rd, 5th Thursday to Monday morning. He has chosen to have his two summer possession sessions each bookended by his expanded standard time. Does he still retain his Thursday night rights during the summer?

  7. Ashley June 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Hey Chris,
    I want to thank you in advance for your help!!
    My boyfriend divorced his wife and is now ncp to his son. We were under theimpression that hewould get his sonfor 30days for the summer but after looking at his custody order the summer visitation is not even mentioned, while in court they never mentioned it would not be included. what can we do? He only gets to see him every other weekend and she refuses to let him see him any other time.


  8. Damien June 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    If u didn’t give no days to the extended summer vacation. Does it automatic push u to the default month.

  9. Brandi July 2, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    My ex husband did not show up on July 1 to pick up our son. Does that mean he has regular SP or does that waive his right to the month? Also if he shows up on any given day of the week in July does he have the right to take him?

  10. Amanda July 3, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Is extended summer possesion required? If NCP does not give any notification for extended periods of possesion, does the regular visitation schedule continue?

    We have agreed (after April 1st) for twe extended periods of posession not totaling 7 days each nor do they total 30 days and they are in addition to the regularly scheduled visitation.

  11. Brittany July 19, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Hi Chris,

    My husband is the NCP and instead of taking the whole month of July (as we do not want the child to be away from her mother for that long), we have elected 30 other days throughout the summer. My husband sent her an email before April 1st of all the days he would like to have instead of doing the full month. Is this ok to spread throughout the summer? Thanks so much!

  12. Shannon April 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    Does the ncp still get their 1st, 3rd, and 5th even though he chose the expanded 42 days?

    Also since we live over a hundred miles he is under the impression he can choose monthy if he wants the standard visitation or the expanded. For instance he’s been getting the 1st, 3rd, & 5th, but chose the expanded summer and to get her every spring break.

  13. Chris Schmiedeke April 23, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    All the answers to your questions can be found in my blog. You can read about weekend possessions here

  14. Sandy Short April 30, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    I am the non-custodial parent. My divorce decree says that I am allowed to see my son for 30 days during the summer. The father is allowed to take one of the weekends during my summer visitation. This brings my days down to 28 not the 30 designated by law. Can I take two more days to my summer custody?

  15. Chris Schmiedeke May 5, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    No. I assume he properly designated the weekend by April 15. You get thirty days if he does not designate a weekend. If he does, then it would be 28.

  16. Hale March 29, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

    I have a question does Father’s Day count as part of the extended summer possession count of days? My next question is I was awarded 4th of July holiday every even numbered year from 3:10 pm July 2nd ending at 3:10 pm July 5th. Do these days count as part of my 42 days if I want them consecutive?

  17. jorge guzman March 31, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    “In addition to this one weekend, the custodial parent can designate another weekend, outside of the thirty day summer possession, when the visiting parent would have otherwise had a weekend visit. Remember from my original standard possession order weekend post that the weekends continue through the summer when there is no extended summer visitation occurring.”

    Can the custodial parent choose the additional weekend outside of the thirty day summer possession back to back from the weekend in the summer possession time? IE:
    requested my daughter ( I am NCP) from June 10-july 9 for summer extended possession, however the CP is requesting June 3-5 and June 10-12. Is that possible, as it is not fair for me the NCP to see my daughter. As she does not let me see her for the rest of summer, which is May from when school released until late August.

  18. Sherri Stewart April 14, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I have a question regarding summer 2016. If the NCP has designated their summer possession in 2 separate periods June 20-to 6pm July 1 and July 5 through July 23. This was done purposefully as the NCP is using the fact that July would be a “first” weekend and the NCP is bookending her 2 separate periods to combine them for a total of 33 consecutive days without the CP to see his child. The NCP is stating if the CP wants that weekend, he has to designate that weekend as the “weekend interruption”. I am not a lawyer but I assist the CP with issues that come up as this is a pattern of the NCP.
    My argument is the standard possession order allows for a designation of 2 separate periods OR 30 consecutive days. the NCP chose the two separate periods, yet she is treating it as 30 days plus bonus of three.
    The CP should not be manipulated into having to choose that a specific weekend or be without seeing his child for 33 days. (PS they are less than 100 miles).
    In addition, it seems the intent of the order is to allow for a maximum of 30 consecutive days for the NCP. By manipulating and bookending her summer possession, the NCP is getting 33 consecutive days which is not allowed for. It is not expressly written and therefore the CP by the nature of the superior possession clause and by nature of naturally separating the NCP 2 separate periods of summer possession, the child should be with the CP upon the end of her first designated period.
    Have you ever seen this type of manipulation? Thanks

  19. Heather May 26, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    if the NCP lives over 100 miles, and the children are registered for summer school (One cannot miss or will be removed from the program and being shes only 2 its a great help she doesn’t get a break til aug and its 2 weeks, my 4 year old is in a private school and is also year around) how does this work???

  20. Chris Schmiedeke May 26, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    You have to follow the order. If the order is incorrect or will not work for a given situation, then you will need to modify the order. Contact a local attorney and file a request with the Court to modify or clarify its order.

  21. Chris Schmiedeke May 26, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    I’m sorry, but I am not really following what you are saying. In a standard possession order the NCP is entitled to weekends throughout the summer and for thirty days summer possession that can be divided into two sessions if they like. If they are meeting those requirements then they can pick the days they want and organize them how they want. The CP has the right to take a weekend out of the extended summer possession if they like provided they gave notice by April 15. Plus they get another weekend outside of the extended summer possession that they can have with 14 days notice. All of this is assuming a standard possession order.

    If I look at the dates you gave me, the CP could have the weekend of June 24th, July 8th, July 15th, or July 22nd if proper notice was given by April 15 all of which are in the extended summer possession.

    Additionally the CP could have one of the following weekends outside the extended summer possession: June 17th, July 1st, July 29th, August 5th, and August 19th if they are not back in school by then.

  22. Torre M. Shepker July 20, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    So if I’m understanding this, a NCP doesn’t actually get 42 days??

    In fact they get 42 days minus the first weekend and potentially a 2nd weekend too.

    So if a CP is cunning enough, the NCP will actually only get 38 days???

    Or am I to understand that the NCP gets 42 days (regardless) in entirety but may be split up by the CP for their visitation?

  23. Diana Vialpando February 22, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    What if child wants to work at a summer camp? Can the NCP force the child to give up his summer job to go visit him? Child looks forward to his summer job every year and child told NCP he will go visit after his Summer Job. But NCP does not want to hear it. Can something be done?

  24. Jeff Dewey March 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

    Could you please help I have extended visitation..every Thursday and return Monday 8am during school year. On summer vacation I really don’t understand my rights and the cp keeps changing it all up on me. So I about to give up and just do the default visitation. July 1st through 30 for 30 consecutive day and try to just enjoy s summer visit with my child with out her harassing me .And she tells me that won’t work either that out of the 30 consecutive days she gets to pick any weekend out of it as well .so in reality I only get 3 weekend out July. Is this true. ? Please help me..and please help me under stand if I didn’t do the default visitation. How to set up my summer visitation on with the written notice.by spiral 1st and how many weekend will she get out of what ever days I’m susposed to get.

  25. Kimberly Smith April 1, 2017 at 6:58 am #

    Our extended summer possession reads as a standard possession order in Texas. I notified this morning, April 1st, at 6:30 am of the dates I would like for my extended summer time. Did I miss the deadline to notify? Did I have to notify by midnight last night, March 31?

  26. Chris Schmiedeke April 3, 2017 at 8:13 am #

    Kimberly, you need to read your decree or order. It will specifically state when your deadline is. Those dates are part of a Texas standard possession order.

    Be sure and check out my new website chrislawyer.com as I am phasing out this blog and moving everything to my website.

  27. Chris Schmiedeke April 3, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    Jeff, all the information is in your order. Read it closely and follow the terms as they are set out. I have multiple blog posts on the topic as well. Look around in here and you will find more answers.

    Be sure and check out my new website www.chrislawyer.com as I am phasing out this blog and moving everything to my website.

  28. Troy April 25, 2017 at 11:30 pm #

    The law says pick up and drop off at same location for the CP. Does this mean that the NCP does NOT need to back at the residence for the pickup and drop off times?

  29. Chris Schmiedeke April 26, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    Sorry, I have no idea what you are asking.

  30. Troy April 26, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    During the NCP summer possession, where does the CP pick up the child for CP’s weekend possession? The law says pick up from NCP and return to that same place. Does that “place” mean residence or location?

  31. Troy April 27, 2017 at 7:41 am #

    I found my answer and would like to share it with your blog

    Excerpt from
    Court of Appeals of Texas,El Paso.
    Alan Leslie WILLIAMS, Appellant, v. Jo–Ann WILLIAMS, Appellee.

    No. 08–11–00212–CV.
    Decided: November 28, 2012

    Jo–Ann signed the MSA that incorporated the terms of the Standard Possession Order. The decree tracks the Standard Possession Order verbatim and specifies that the primary custodial parent “picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place.” TEX.FAM.CODE ANN. § 153.312(b)(3). There is nothing ambiguous about the phrase that Jo–Ann must pick up Matthew from Alan and return Matthew to Alan. Without question, the trial court lacked authority to order Alan to bring the child back to North Texas for the weekend. By virtue of the MSA, the decree of divorce, and the Texas Family Code, Jo–Ann must pick up Matthew from Alan and return Matthew to Alan. If Jo–Ann as the custodial parent wants weekend access during Alan’s vacation, that is her right. But she is bound by contract, judgment, and statute to travel to the site of the vacation. Issues One and Two are sustained.

  32. Nicole May 3, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    I’m CP and my son will be with NCP for a month however split btwn June and July.
    He will get him June 3-June 20; and then July 15-July 30th. I missed my deadline to request a weekend by almost 3 weeks; deadline was April 15. Is there any way around this? Can I request a weekend with my son during July 15-July 30th?

  33. Chris Schmiedeke May 4, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    There needs to be context provided to this case. This is in a situation where the non-custodial parent (NCP) is exercising his extended summer possession. It appears in Oklahoma. The custodial parent (CP) appears to have selected a weekend inside of the extended summer possession by providing notice by April 15th per the standard possession order. What this ruling is saying is that in a typical standard possession order in Texas, in this situation, the CP is ordered to pick up the child from the NCP at the beginning of the designated weekend and return the child to that same place that they picked them up. In this case, Oklahoma.

    This case is only addressing this specific extended summer possession situation.

  34. Chris Schmiedeke May 4, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    The key here is to read your order. REALLY read your order. Every word is extremely important. If “place” meant residence, it would say “residence”.

  35. Chris Schmiedeke May 4, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    Does your order provide for an exception? Your order controls one-hundred percent. If it is not in the order, then it does not exist. By way of example, in a standard possession order in Texas, when looking at summer visitation, the custodial parent (CP) can have a weekend inside the extended summer possession (this is what you are referring to I believe), and a weekend during the summer outside the extended summer possession. Inside the extended summer possession notice has to be given by April 15th. Outside the extended summer possession notice is given by April 15th OR 14 days in advance. IF you have a standard possession order, there is your answer. If there was going to be an exception given it would read just like the weekend outside of the extended summer possession.

    I don’t know what kind of order you have, so I do not know if it applies to you or not. Talk to a local attorney and have them review your order.

    Check out my new webpage at chrislawyer.com as it has articles, videos and other resources.

  36. Troy May 4, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    My order does say “place” and “location” in reference to the cp’s visitation weekend within my extended summer possession. For everything else it designates residence. I have an expanded standard possession order and live within 100 miles of cp.

  37. Chris Schmiedeke May 5, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    That is standard language. I’ve not seen your order but it sounds as if it is standard, so it would appear that the case you found is directly to your issue.

    I’ve started a new webpage at http://www.chrislawyer.com that will replace this blog. I am putting articles, videos and documents on there to help educate people. You should check it out. It will take some time to populate it, but it will be good.

  38. Megan May 11, 2017 at 9:08 pm #

    If a father refuses to take his summer month, would he still get the weekends?

  39. Chris Schmiedeke May 15, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    That is a good question and one that there is no clear answer to. The best bet is too simply discuss with the other parent and see if agreements can be reached. If that is not possible, contact a local attorney and see what they thing you should do given your court and judge.

  40. Linda Andrade May 27, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

    So NCP gets my daughter the default month of July for summer possession. When we signed the order for all of this the lady clearly told me that I (CP) would get her the whole month of June and NCP the month of July. I don’t see that on the order.

  41. Sabrina June 4, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

    What do you do if the NCP isn’t taking court ordered time? They took a job knowing when their visitation was and now wants me to move around my schedule for him and let him have the kids every other tuesday and wednesday. I was going to try and work with him but wanted him to help with childcare since he was supposed to have them for two weeks on and two weeks off whole summer but that isn’t gonna happen.
    He has been paying child support but still owes almost 14k because he didn’t pay it for first two years. I need some advice. Do I just save up for a lawyer or find one that takes payment plan. Don’t want to get in trouble for denying visistation but he isn’t even following court orders. Thanks in advance.

  42. Chris Schmiedeke June 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    You simply have to follow the court’s order. You do not have to agree to modify it or change it. Just follow it. If it isn’t working, or there is a problem with the order, then contact an attorney to help you modify the order.

  43. Chris Schmiedeke June 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    The order controls everything. Read and understand your order. If it is not in there, you do not get it.

  44. C. Sumler June 18, 2017 at 10:58 pm #

    Is the NCP still entitled to their 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends in all of the summer months, in addition to their 30 day visitation in July?

  45. Chris Schmiedeke June 19, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    You can read more about it on my website at chrislawyer.com.

  46. Joe August 2, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    Mr. Schmiedeke, I’ve enjoyed your blog, and thank you in advance for your attention on this subject. I have a question about visitation in Texas, and if and how it is effected by holiday’s, or summer visitation more specifically.

    I chose to use my expanded summer vacation with my kids from July 1st – July 31st of this year. My ex-wife will then be take the weekend of August 4th – August 6th with our kids, and chose the weekend of the August 11th – August 13th (which was scheduled to be mine with our kids) as her one summer weekend as per item 2 page 6 of our standard possession decree.

    She then scheduled to have our kids August 18th – August 20th and says that this is standard practice, that this weekend was hers in rotation. We DO NOT and have NOT practiced this method in any other part of the year. Instead, if one of my holiday’s with our kids falls on her weekend, then rotation would changed, and she would get that following weekend after the holiday with the kids. What is the correct practice?

    Thank you,

  47. Jessica Pugh October 15, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

    In our most current order we are doing our summer visitation per the “over 100 miles apart” guidelines. My question is this, Who gets to pick their days first? It states you have to give notice by April 15th. If dad hasn’t notified me of his 42 day period yet and I tell him when I want to have my 21 days am I entitled to that and for him to work around it and split his 42 before and after my time? In regards to notification, is it basically first come first serve or do I have to wait on him?

  48. Joni Steele November 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    Hey Chris,

    I wanted to know if my son has a July birthday can I get him for more than just two hours. I just need different way to see him. Because if not I would only be allowed 2 hours for every other year totalling to only 18 birthday hours I find this unfair to me and my relationship with my son. I am the CP,please let me know how to get more time in this matter his birthday is July 12th.

    Thank you


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