This is my first post in a series on the Texas Standard Possession Order and the wording associated with visitation in Texas.
The foundation for the Texas Standard Possession Order is the weekend visit. Weekend visits occur on the first, third and fifth Friday of every month. When looking at a standard calendar, find the first Friday of any given month and that is the first Friday described in the standard possession order. The third weekend is self explanatory and occasionally there will be a fifth Friday in a month.
When there is a fifth Friday in a given month, the immediately following Friday will be the first Friday of that month, in effect giving two weekends in a row. This pattern continues throughout the year and is only superseded (or replaced) by holiday visitations.
The standard pickup time for the Texas Standard Possession Order is 6:00 p.m. on Friday. However, the person exercising visitation has the right to elect that their visits begin at the time the child’s school is dismissed, or any time between the time the child’s school is dismissed and 6:00 p.m., if that election is made before entry of the order and it is reflected in the order. This means that you cannot elect this provision after the order is entered.
The standard drop off time for the Texas Standard Possession Order is 6:00 p.m. on the Sunday following the first, third or fifth Friday of the month. However, as stated above, the person exercising visitation has the right to elect that the visitation ends at time school resumes on the Monday following the first, third, or fifth Friday of any given month provided the election is made prior to entry of the order.
If the parties live more than 100 miles from each other, the person exercising visitation can either exercise the weekend visits as set out above or they can elect to exercise one weekend per month of their choice to begin at 6:00 p.m. on that Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday. The visiting parent must give 14 days written or telephonic notice of the weekend they choose. Additionally, this election for one weekend per month must be made in writing to the parent with custody of the child within 90 days after the parties begin to live more than 100 miles apart.
If a first, third or fifth weekend (or the weekend designated if over 100 miles) coincides with a school holiday during the school term or with a federal, state or local holiday during the summer, the weekend possession will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday immediately preceding a Friday holiday or it will end at 6:00 p.m. on the Monday holiday. If alternate pick up and drop off times were made as described above then those would apply here as well.
By way of example, if Memorial Day weekend is a person’s visitation weekend, then their possession would end on that Monday holiday at 6:00 p.m. and not at 6:00 p.m. the preceding Sunday. If they had elected to return the child to school at the end of their possession times then that parent would return the child to school on Tuesday morning following the Monday holiday.
In my next post, I will discuss the Thursday periods of possession of the Texas Standard Possession Order.