texas standard possession order de-mystified – thursday possession

While the weekend possessions of a Texas Standard Possession Order are the backbone of visitation in Texas and widely understood, Thursday periods of possession are many times completely misunderstood.

Probably the most misunderstood part of the Thursday possession is when it occurs. While the weekend possessions follow essentially an every other weekend schedule, Thursday visitations under the Texas Standard Possession Order occur every week during the school term. This means that they DO NOT occur during the summer. If the child concerned is not in school, then it follows the school term for district in which the child would be enrolled if in school. For instance if the child is in daycare in Plano and lives in Plano, then the Plano Independent School District calendar would control.

Thursday periods of possession begin at 6:00 p.m. and end at 8:00 p.m. the same day. However, much like the weekend periods of possession, the person exercising visitation can elect to have the visits begin at the time the child’s school is dismissed, or anytime between the time school is dismissed and 6:00 p.m., and end when school resumes the following Friday.

If you are following along with a calendar, and I know you are, you will notice that during the school term, this essentially creates a long weekend when it is the visiting parent’s weekend if they have made the elections to pickup from school or drop off at school. Under this scenario the visitation would begin at the time the child’s school is dismissed on Thursday and end on the Monday following the weekend at the time school begins. It gets even longer if the weekend ends with a Monday holiday as described in my post on weekend visitation under the Texas Standard Possession Order.

For parents who live over 100 miles there is no Thursday period of possession in the standard possession order.

In my next installment I will discuss summer possession under the Texas Standard Possession Order.

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60 Responses to texas standard possession order de-mystified – thursday possession

  1. Barbara August 18, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    “if they have made the elections to pickup from school or drop off at school”
    What does this phrase mean? Does this election have to be formally requested prior to filing?

  2. Chris Schmiedeke August 18, 2010 at 8:06 am #

    Usually those are not elections and are specifically set in the order. Read your order. I would be surprised if it had “election” language. If they do have a choice per the order, then I do not think that there is any formal requirement for the election. Again, your order will control this, or should.

  3. Penelope September 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Thank you for posting this. My question is this: If his father elects to pick him up on Thursday at the time of school dismissal, whose responsibility is it to return the child to daycare/school on Friday morning when school resumes? My 3 year old is not in school of course, but has a nanny who cares for him in my home. My ex has interpreted the possession order to say that at the end of his period of possession on Thursdays, it is my responsibility to pick him up. Obviously, I interpret it to mean that my ex is required to return my son to his daycare, even though daycare happens to be at our home.

  4. Kristi January 14, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    Regarding thursday possesion, pick up when school is dismissed and drop off when school resumes on Friday; what if school is out on Friday for inservice and it is the custodial parents weekend? What time and where does the non custodial parent conclude their thursday overnight possession?

  5. Chris Schmiedeke January 14, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    That should be provided for in your decree. Typically the language reads 9:00 a.m. or something like that. If your decree is silent, then common sense would seem to be return at the time school would normally have started.

  6. Kevin February 17, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    So should the weekend schedule follow the Thursdays of the month or the Fridays of the month in this scenario?

  7. Chris Schmiedeke February 17, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    That should be provided in your decree. It would be a provision for transfer when the child is not in school. Typically it is 8:00 a.m. at other parents house or sometime around then. Again, check your order.

  8. Chris Schmiedeke February 17, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Not sure what scenario you are referring to, however, weekends are usually measured by the 1st, 3rd and 5th Fridays.

  9. Jennifer April 12, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    My order states this:
    3. Thursdays – On Thursday of each week during the regular school term, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed and ending at the time the child’s school resumes on Friday.

    Next Friday the 22nd is Good Friday so there is no school. I am 100% certain my ex thinks because there is no school that he doesn’t need to return her til 6pm that Friday.(since normal visitation times during the school term begin and end at 6pm) Is there any legal site with documents online that you suggest I point him to if he pitches a fit, since I don’t have a lawyer on retainer right now to refer him to?

  10. Chris Schmiedeke April 20, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    Your question is a bit confusing. Does the ex not have standard visitation? If he does this would be the 5th weekend of the month and he would get the child from Thursday after school to return to school on Monday a.m. If he does not have standard visitation, then I cannot answer your question without seeing your order. Most orders have a provision that states what happens when the child is supposed to be returned to school and is not in school. My orders typically state 8:00 a.m. at the custodial parent’s house if the child is not in school. Check your order and see if that provision is in there. If it is not, then there is no answer to that question as only your order would control that situation.

  11. Danielle Williams June 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    On Thursday possession, what happens with this scenario because we are all in complete disagreement: School is dismissed for the summer on Thursday at 1130….as custodial parent we have interpretted that is the beginning of summer and non custodial does not get the child on that Thursday. Correct?

  12. Jenna June 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Is the Thursday possession during the summer left up to different lawyers interpretations? I have been divorced for a few years and we have always follow the Thursday possession during the school year as well as during the summer. If the kids are in fact not suppossed to be with him on Thursday’s during the summer then I will bring it up to my ex. However, I don’t want to have a huge fight over something that may be obscure or different lawyers take different ways.

  13. Chris Schmiedeke June 10, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Read your order. The answer is right there. Does the Thursday possession say “during the school term”. If it does, then there is your answer. If it does not then that is your answer as well.

  14. Chris Schmiedeke June 10, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    Was the child in school on Thursday? What FULL DAY is the first day of summer? That is your answer.

  15. Chris Schmiedeke August 1, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    It is calendar days. July 1-31st is not 31 days. You do not count the first day. Day one would be July 2nd.

  16. kim September 22, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    My husband has extended visitation. He would normally pick up today and return child to school fri. This is my weekend. Tomorrow is a teacher in service day so there is no school. Should he return child to me in the am or pm?

  17. Chris Schmiedeke September 22, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    Read your order. There is usually language that controls the situation of transfers when the child is not in school. If there is none, and your husband has overnights Thursday nights, then most likely he would get the overnight and return to you sometime in the a.m. I usually use 8:00 a.m. in my orders. I assume that since you are referring to him as “husband” and he has standard visitation that you must be under temporary orders. That leads me to believe you are probably represented by counsel. If you are, this a questions for your attorney as they know all the facts. If you do not, you probably need to get one.

    Good luck.

  18. Angela October 19, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    The standard order I have states Thursday overnights begin when the child is enrolled in school and school is defined as the primary or secondary school the child is enrolled in. My child is enrolled in a private school that offers classes pre k to 6th grade. I could not find a specific definition of primary school other than elementary school or that it is a school that offers elementary grades. The question is since my son is in pre k does that entitle overnight thursday visits. Technically all the decree says is enrolled in a primary school and technically he is enrolled in a school that houses elementary grades and prek is offered in some elementary schools. The co parent says it means kindergarten and that is age 5. Doesn’t seem to be defined anywhere and we don’t agree.

  19. Chris Schmiedeke October 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    If your order does not state the answer then there is no answer. I suggest that you talk to a local attorney that knows the judge and get their opinion. I could make good arguments either way, but only the judge can ultimately decide.

  20. Angela October 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Thank you. Would this be grounds for a modification to the custody agreement?

  21. Rose December 12, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    My husband has extended visitation for his son. We are confused in regards to the Christmas Break. His son is out for school on the 12/16/11 which is the 3rd weekend of the month. Do we not get him that weekend or does his mom pick him up on Friday since its the start of his Christmas break? We don’t get him until Jan 28th at noon but what about the following Thursday during the break 12/22/11. Does he still get his son for the normal Thursday pocession? Normally we get him when he is dismissed from school and drop him off at shool the following morning but since it is during Christmas break we were unsure. Thanks in advance!

  22. Chris Schmiedeke January 5, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Holidays override weekend and weekly visitation. No Thursdays and no weekends during holidays.

  23. Courtney March 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    What can be done if you go to pick up your child for Thursday visit and she is not there? Then you find out she’s over 100 miles away without notifying you?

  24. Chris Schmiedeke April 2, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    File a Motion to Enforce the visitation order.

  25. Karen April 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    My ex has Thursday visitation, and they spend the night (since he doesn’t work on Fridays), he takes them to school on Friday. Since this Friday is Good Friday and my kids are off, does he have to return them on Sunday at 6:00pm, which is written in my decree (like a typical weekend) OR can does he keep them until Monday?

  26. question April 27, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    What if a person needs to be at work by 7:30am on Friday? The paperwork says to return the child at 8AM, however most jobs begin before that. Mother of the child refuses to stray away from the paperwork…would it be a hassle to have the paperwork ammended for a 7AM exchange instead of 8AM?

  27. Chris Schmiedeke May 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    That depends on the mother. Could it be a hassle, yes. Do you need to do it, yes.

  28. Somer May 21, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    For the extended summer possession…..when the father has the extended summer possesion the month of July….is he responsible to pay for daycare/childcare that month if he pays child support and the mother pays for the daycare/childcare normally?

  29. Chris Schmiedeke May 24, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Somer, that depends on how your decree is worded. If there are no provisions, then I think it would be safe to assume that if the non custodial parent needed daycare during their time they would pay for it. However, there is no easy answer to this question. I bet it is cheaper to just pay it than to argue about it in court for either party. Maybe you can split it.

  30. Jennie May 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Does the extended summer duration include the standard standard possession weekends? My ex husband has chosen to spilt up the summer duration, part in June and part in July. He has designated 18 days for June and 21 days for July for a toltal of 39 days. He said that was allowed because his attorney subtracted his standard visitation weekends from the June and July timeframes requested. This approach brings the totaled durations down to 30 days. Is this actually how it works. I will not get possession during any of the durations he has because they will be out of town and I cannot affordd the trip.

  31. Chris Schmiedeke June 1, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Look at it this way, if a person DOES NOT give written notice of extended summer possession for the summer, the Texas legislature has said (and probably your order) that they get July 1 to July 31st. How many days is that? Thirty. Do you see anywhere in your order where it says that there should be some subtraction of those weekends? Probably not, because the Texas legislature did not add such a provision.

    Point is, summer extended visitation is just like a holiday, and holidays supersede weekend periods of possession meaning that they wipe them away. Thirty days is thirty days and there is no “subtraction”.

    Talk to an attorney and ask them to write a nice letter to the other attorney explaining the Texas Family Code and then try to work out some arrangement that puts them within the thirty days time frame. Good luck.

  32. leigh June 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    cwhere is it definded in the family code, what the “regular school term” begins and ends (time) & “summer months when school is not in session” begins and ends (time) and summer vacation begins and ends (time).. My issues is with my ex who has the following rights per our decree:
    *Thursdays-on thursday of each week during the regular school term, beginning at 6 pm and ending one hour before the time the child’s school resumes on friday
    *Weekends – on weekend that occure during the regular school term, beginning at 6 pm, on the 1, 3, 5 friday of each month and ending one hour before the time the childs school resumes after the weekend
    *Weekends – on weekends that occur during the summer vacation, beginning at 6 pm on the 1, 3, 5 friday of each month and ending at 6 pm on the folowing sunday.
    *Weekend possession extended by a holiday – if a weekend period of possession begins on a student holiday or a teacher inservice day that falls on a friday during the regular school term, as determind by the school in which the child is enrolled, or a federal, state or local holiday that falls on a friday during the summer months when school is not in session, that weekend period of possession shall begin at 6 pm on the immediately perceding thursday.
    If my local public school last day of school is 5/31 and dismisses early at 12:45 pm and 6/1 is considered a student holiday/teacher/staff developement day. when does the regular school term end and the summer vacation/summer months when school is not in session begin?

    My ex is saying that he gets 5/31, thursday at 6 pm because of the weekend possession extended by a holiday? He feels that since its a teacher development day hes intitled. I say no because regular school term ended at 12:45 pm on 5/31 and school is dismissed for summer until 8/27/12. I do agree that he gets his 1st weekend in June starting friday 6/1 at 6pm- sunday 6/3.

  33. Angelena June 5, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    I have a question: what exactly does the term “secondary school” mean? My 5 yr old is out of Primary school for summer vacation and I get a different answer every time I ask this. Is secondary school considered highschool or a school summer program between Elementary and Highschool? The reason I ask is my chil is enrolled in a Learning Facility Summer Program and since I have yet to start receiving child support I had to get assistance paying for a portion of the costs and he’s only allowed to miss an alloted number of days for certain reasons. Well his father wants to get him July 1st – July 31st as the standard possession order states but our son will also be having surgery the beginning of July (which is excused by the assistance program). Long story short my ex could care less about our son and I’m in no way trying to keep our son from him, becuase he loves his daddy. All I asked was that my ex allow him to cont his summer program and that he be allowed to stay home (with me) after his surgery becuase my ex works nights and allows our son to stay with his college age girlfriend in her joint appartment and that is no place for him to recover after surgery. It worsby mmyyex’s hhatforormrmndi usgor son to get back at me in any way he can.

  34. Angelena June 5, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    It’s worsened by my ex’s hate for me and he uses our son in any way possible to get back at me.

  35. pat August 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    my order defines school as the usual ‘primary or secondary school’ and says summer ends 7 days before school starts. The public schools start back Aug 27th. Our 3 year old starts part time preschool Sept 6. Does summer end 7 days before preschool starts or 7 days before public school starts?

  36. Confused September 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    My ex and I have the standard possession order which allows for the expansion of Thursday overnights and Sunday overnights:
    On Thursdays of each week during the regular school term beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed and ending at the time the child’s school resumes on Friday. (or Monday for the weekend parenting time). It then says if our child is not in school it would be 6 pm on Thurs to 6 pm Fri (or Sun on the weekend visit)

    My child’s Mother had not exercised Thursday time since school started. Yesterday she called and said said she can’t pick her up when school is out and she would come pick her up at 6 pm on Thursday, I agreed. Today is Thursday, my child’s mother called around 3 to speak to her. She told her she would be running late and make sure she brings a uniform. My child is 4 yrs old, I am not OK with communication going through her. I called her back to remind her of the earlier bedtime now that our child is in school. (she has been known to show up 4-5 hours late without notice).

    At 7 pm I called to let her know I would be putting our child to bed if she was not here by 7:30. At 7:50 pm she was not her so I put our child to bed. She showed up around 8:30 pm requesting that I wake the child up so she can take shopping, then home. I told her I had given her enough time to show up and I would not wake up the child. She then stated that she was going to be picking the child up at school tomorrow and keeping her until 6 pm.

    I left a message for my attorney but I’m trying to gain some insight. I interpreted the order stating that since our child is in school, her mother could pick her up and return her to school and that I was being amicable by allowing pick up at 6 pm but her Thurs time would still end at the time school resumed. Is she correct that she can pick the child up and school and keep her until 6 pm?

    Also the order states that the child will be surrendered to the other parent at the school. Does this actually mean both parents need to be at the school for every exchange instead of picking up/ dropping off directly to the classroom?

  37. Christina March 23, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    I have a question about Thursday’s. My husband’s ex has been living over 100 miles away until this month so now she realizes she gets her every Thursday night from 6pm-8pm during the regular school term. We have an arrangement that we would drop the child off at the closest convenience store to her mother and she would bring her back by 8pm to the Post Office that is the closest place to us. We worked this out because she still lives 15 miles away.

    We signed my stepdaughter up for t ball before the ex moved back and were just notified that t-ball is on Thursday nights from 5:30-6:30pm. My husband texted her last night to let her know and told her probably the best bet would be that she come pick up her daughter and watch her play then take her and we would go into town and pick her up at 8pm. She said she wants her from 6:30-8:30 now. We believe this is late for the child who is four. She will be in daycare all day, no nap, an hour of practice and this mother won’t bathe her so by the time we get her home and taken care of, settled down, it will be around 10pm. This is late for her and she will be a bear the next day. She is the type of person that thinks that if she can’t do what she wants with the child then she does not have posession and her time does not start. This mother is very selfish and doesn’t care about the child’s well being. Is there anything we can do? I would rather not have to go back to court for this.

  38. Susie Edwards May 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    I think a lot of confusion in the term “regular school term” lies in the fact that all schools are not the same. My grandchildren attend private school in Pre K (4 yrs old). They get out tomorrow, a Thursday. The rest of school is dismissed on Friday. Since the school is providing care for them on Friday, we do not know when the regular school term ends for them.

  39. Catie April 2, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    My ex is choosing his extended summer possession in two separate periods. Which is fine but he is surrounding one of his standard 1st weekends in July and is trying to not count those as part of his 30 since the kids would come home for one night and then back with him for the weekend and then home for one night and then back for his second extended possession.

    June 24-July 3rd 1st extended
    July 7-July 24 2nd extended

    The weekend of July 4-6 is the 1st weekend and he is not counting this in his 30 days since the kids come home on Thursday night, leave and then on Sunday night and leave Monday. I am pretty sure my lawyer said that this would count as consecutive calendar days and should be part of his 30 extended days.

    I think he is trying to force me to pick that as one of my summer weekends or he is just trying to get 3 extra days.

  40. Charlie June 1, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    My Ex husband and I have an expanded SPO which allows him to have over night Thursday visitation. Recently I had the opportunity to move from a two bedroom apartment with both my kids one only being connected to him into a three bedroom house. We have a set geographic limit which when I move I will still be abiding by our divorce decree. It is almost 38 miles away from his residence and with his work schedule it would interfere with his overnight visitation. I want our daughter to have time with him but he is asking that I give up my weekend to make up for it. He also had his attorney send a certified letter I have yet to receive. Can he challenge me even though I am following by what was written in the decree?

  41. Chris Schmiedeke June 3, 2015 at 8:06 am #

    He is entitled to modify the decree at any time. If he feels he is entitled to a modification, then he can file it. However, he has to prove a material and substantial change in circumstances. Not sure if your move qualifies as material and substantial. I suggest you contact an attorney in your area and run it by them.

  42. Margaret July 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    Could you help us contact our grandson in Texas? We are located in Pennsylvania, and we had communication with him via telephone and computer up until last week. Then someone in the family in Texas deleted his ability to contact us both by phone and computer we do not know what to do I have not been able to contact him and his mother is incarcerated in prison his father is in Pennsylvania with us that would be my husband son if you could help us out its Chris she ate at our phone numbers by 570-267-0788 thank you Margaret stark

  43. Margaret July 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    Could you help us contact our grandson in Texas? We are located in Pennsylvania, and we had communication with him via telephone and computer up until last week. Then someone in the family in Texas deleted his ability to contact us both by phone and computer we do not know what to do I have not been able to contact him and his mother is incarcerated in prison his father is in Pennsylvania with us that would be my husband son if you could help us out its Chris she ate at our phone numbers by 570-267-0788 thank you Margaret stark

  44. Bere March 10, 2016 at 11:36 pm #

    Hi, I pick up my child every 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend of the month like I am supposed to and also have them for holidays when it is my year. My only problem is picking them up Thursdays because of my work schedule. My decree says for Thursdays ….”shall have the right to possession of the child” whereas holidays say “shall have possession of the child. The mother is now giving me a hard time about it and is now tellling me I cannot see my child at all. Does that mean that Thursdays are optional for pick up? Since it jumps from shall have THE RIGHT to possesion to SHALL HAVE possession? Please help.

  45. Chris Schmiedeke March 22, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    All visitation is optional, meaning a court is not going to force you to visit with your child. However, if you cannot exercise a period of possession, you are required to notify the other party that you cannot exercise. That way they are not waiting on you. Your order should have specific provisions regarding notice of inability to exercise possession. Look at your order. Do what it says.

    For instances where you cannot exercise a whole series of visits, for instance Thursdays, just notify the other side that you will not be able to exercise the Thursdays in the future. Read your order, understand it, and follow its rules.

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