summer visitation in Texas

It is the month of May and summer in Texas is upon us.  Just a little refresher on summer visitation and the standard visitation orders in Texas.

For the parent with visitation:

April 1st  is the deadline to designate your thirty days of visitation in the summer if your standard possession order is out of Texas.  If you designated days, then you know when your visit begins and ends.  If you did not designate your visitation times by April 1st then it defaults to July 1 through July 31st .  The possession beginning and ending times are 6:00 p.m. by default in Texas.  Always check your order for exact dates and times.

Custodial parent (parent with custody):

For the custodial parent, you have certain times set out for you for summer visitation in Texas as well.  If you give the visiting parent notice by April 15th you can designate one weekend in their thirty day period of possession to have the child.  It will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and you must do all the driving (i.e. pick up and drop off).  If you did not designate this weekend by April 15th then you lose that weekend.

For example, if the visiting parent did not designate their thirty day summer possession by April 1st then we know they get the month of July.  If the custodial parent gives notice between April 2 and April 15 of a weekend in July that they would like possession of the child, they get that weekend.  If they do not give notice during that time frame they do not get any weekends during the thirty days summer visitation of the visiting parent.

The custodial parent gets and additional summer weekend pursuant to the standard visitation orders in Texas.  This weekend takes place outside of the visiting parent’s thirty day summer possession.  If the custodial parent gives the visiting parent notice by April 15th or 14 days written notice on or after April 16th, that parent can choose one weekend during the summer to exercise visitation that would have otherwise been the visiting parent’s weekend.   Again, this visit begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ends at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday and the custodial parent must do all the driving.

Using our example above we know that the visiting parent has extended summer possession for the month of July in Texas without any other notice.  That leaves June and August for the custodial parent to choose a weekend.  Lets say custodial parent misses the April 15th date but gives written notice to the other parent on July 16th that they will exercise their summer visitation weekend on August 6th, a weekend that would have otherwise been the visiting parent’s weekend.  Under that scenario, that parent would have the child beginning July 31st at 6:00 p.m. through August 20th at 6:00 p.m. (the next weekend possession by the visiting parent).  That allows plenty of time for a summer vacation to some beautiful locale in the great State of Texas.

Again, check your order for exact times for pick up and drop off as they may vary in your order.

That about wraps it up for summer visitation in Texas under a standard possession order.  As always, feel free to comment.

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451 Responses to summer visitation in Texas

  1. Chris Schmiedeke July 28, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    Because the legislature says so. 🙂

  2. Chris Schmiedeke July 28, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    Just the standard weekends would apply…1st 3rd and 5th.

  3. Chris Schmiedeke July 28, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    Typically, yes. There are other factors however (like did they say they were running late, etc…). If you continue to have issues with the parent not picking up the child for visitation, contact an attorney in your area and go over your options.

  4. Chris Schmiedeke July 28, 2015 at 11:18 am #

    Depends on your order. In a standard possession order the Thursdays say “during the school term”. That means only during school. Not sure what your order says.

  5. Chris Schmiedeke July 28, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    Your order is your order, you cannot add provisions that are left out. If the order is not right, you need to get an attorney in your area and modify your order to reflect the correct provisions.

  6. Chris Schmiedeke July 28, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    The possession begins when the Court order says it begins. If the parent does not take possession at that time, they would most likely forfeit that visitation unless there is a written agreement otherwise. The parent can drop the child back off with the parent any time they like, but absent written agreement otherwise, they would also forfeit the remainder of the visitation.

    Have an attorney in your area review the order an advise you on your specific terminology.

  7. courtney July 29, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    I am the non-cust parent and I had my kids for July 1st – July 31st. And they are telling me I dont get my kids in August on my weekends is that true? By how I read my papers it goes back to normal besides Thursdays and thats comes back after school starts.

    What does the Extended weekend mean?

    Help please

  8. Chris Schmiedeke July 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    Sounds like you are reading your papers correct if you have a standard possession order. An extended weekend can mean a few things or refer to a couple places in the decree. Not sure what you are referring to.

  9. JET July 30, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    I am looking for case law or anything that clarifies that the expanded summer visitation, the 30 days in July, that the code says ends July 31st at 6 p.m., is interpreted to be that the 5th weekend visitation right do not apply during this particular month. Both portions, the part that provides for the 1st, 3rd & 5th weekends and the verbiage for the July expanded visit, aren’t very clear when it comes to this, leaving this confusing and a potential loophole that one parent can use to aggravate the other. I’ve seen posts on other sites where attorneys state that July is different which leaves me to believe that they interpret this to mean that the July visit does, in fact, end on July 31, regardless. I know of many families that end this time on that day and time, regardless. I know it is rare that a 5th weekend will hit during this month, and it has this year, so has there ever been any case that clarifies that this month is interpreted to be different?

  10. michelle rodriguez July 31, 2015 at 8:18 am #

    we have my stepson from july 1 to 31st since there was no notice…..but the 31st lands today friday which is the 5th weekend of the month…..instead of him going back today at 6, does he stay with us until sunday at 6?

  11. Chris Schmiedeke July 31, 2015 at 9:57 am #

    The standard possession order for extended summer visitation ends at 6:00 p.m. on July 31st. A 5th weekend possession typically begins on Friday at 6:00 p.m. on the 5th Friday weekend. Under that scenario, for a standard possession order, the weekend visitation would occur.

  12. Heidi July 31, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

    We have my step daughter from July 1-31st . Since this is the fifth Friday and also the 31st , do we keep her , or do we return her and loose our fifth weekend?

  13. Elisa Cortez August 3, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    I am the VP(Visiting Parent). I have the extended modified custody decree. I have my child the 1st, 3rd and 5th wknds of every month starting Thursday after school and ending Monday mornings at school. I also have the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays. Question: Do the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays apply even though we are not in the regular school time frame, we are in the summer break?

  14. Chris Schmiedeke August 4, 2015 at 8:04 am #

    Depends on what your order says. Does it say Thursdays “during the regular school term”? If so, then the Thursdays are only during school. If not, you may have them on Thursdays. Without seeing your order it is impossible to say.

    Review your entire order, including the transfer provisions. Your answer is in there.

  15. Erin August 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    I am the custodial parent. My question is in regards to the third weekend of August this year (2015): this is the weekend prior to school starting and everything in my decree says that possession periods must not interfere with seven days prior to school starting. The wording is from the standard Texas decree. Does this mean that the non-custodial parent forfeits this weekend prior to school starting?? Help please!!

  16. Martin August 16, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    I get to have my daughters on the last weekend before school starts. Aug 21st-23rd. Aug 24th is the first day of school. Does school term start after the 24th or will I be able to drop them off that morning for the first day of school, since how I have the expanded standard visitation?

  17. Heather September 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    I am new to extended standard visitation. Our decree outlines extended standard visitation except our daughter is under the age of five. She is in daycare. I gave notice before April 15 that I wanted to exercise a weekend that would typically be the other noncustodial parents for the upcoming Labor Day holiday. He had plenty of notice and I even reminded him two weeks ago that I would still be using the weekend I requested. He is now stating his attorney says that since the school district already started school, it does not matter that she is in daycare and summer is over so I cannot exercise my right to have that weekend with her. I allowed him to take an additional weekend with her last weekend in order to make up for any time missed. It’s very frustrating and definitely the noncustodial parent can do a lot of things to try to play games unfortunately as well. I want to know what my rights are in the situation. He doesn’t return items that he is supposed to such a school uniforms that he didn’t even pay for and has made things very difficult. That is an art Acree and he is in violation of it but he does not care. Probably because he knows I won’t take him back to court unless it’s a major issue. At this point I am ready to go back and ask them to change the decree back to what we mediated originally. He hired an attorney after-the-fact and I let his attorney talk me into some changes that I know wish I never had.

  18. Cinthia September 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    Does the state of TX have anything like Missouri’s
    RSMO 452.340.2? It seems really unfair that the noncustodial parent has to continue paying the custodial parent even when the child is not in their possession for extended periods of time in TX. That amount should be prorated or not given for the time frame the child is doing extended visitations.

  19. HTX September 14, 2015 at 10:59 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Just found your blog today, great feed!

    I do have a quick question, my husband has the standard possession order and he and he and I tend to review his daughter’s school calendar and his order for regular schedule, holidays and summer breaks with any other requests if we can foresee something coming up with us that we want the girls to participate in family events. Well last summer he requested June 2nd to July 5th which is the length required plus the 1st weekend of the month which subsides the 4th of July Holiday, she declined it to him because her Beau was going to have his kids that month. Can she do this? Keep in mind we send her requests of everything for the school year plus summer break. We sent her the calendar of when my husband has her, dates and times of pick up including the holidays and request for summer break, he is afraid that she will again decline his request out of spite. She has been having issues since we married even though she is the cause of divorce. I am feeling hopeless that I do this to keep my sanity but it goes out the door when she declines every request.

  20. HTX September 14, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    Oh Chris one more thing…we have sent my husband’s ex the 2015 – 2016 calendar early this month of September when the school calendar comes out. We haven’t ask for much just the summer of June last year which she declined and this year to begin right when they get out until the Sunday after July 4th, we also don’t tell her that we are going out of the country until April because we told her once and again, she declined. Not sure if she was being spiteful because we both have the means to travel when we can. Can she decline from us taking them out of the country if we paid for Passports.

  21. Chris Schmiedeke September 18, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    She cannot deny the times designated in the notice for the summer. This is a common theme in divorce visitations. What people need to understand is that they have to try and exercise the times they designate. If they do not, because “she said she will not allow it” then they cannot then hold her in contempt.

    By way of example. If a person designates a visit to begin on June 15th at 6:00 p.m. They had better show up at that time at the place designated in the order for the transfer. That way when they are denied, the other parent is now in contempt of court. If you do not show up on that date and time to the designated place, then you forfeited the visit.

    Be careful on the pick up time for summer. Under a standard possession order you cannot pick them up right when they get out of school. There is typcially a day in there before summer visits can start.

    As far as international travel, I doubt you can get a passport without mother’s approval.

    Good luck.

  22. crw1337 December 20, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    If the custodial parent has the child from June 1- July 1, according to the Texas standard possession order, is this uninterrupted time except for the fathers day weekend or does the noncustodian parent still get possession on 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends during that month?

  23. Chris Schmiedeke December 21, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    The weekend visits continue throughout the summer. For instance, in a standard possession order, the Thursday visits say “during the school term” meaning while school is in session. The weekends do not say that. Therefore they continue year round.

  24. Mae January 11, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    I am the custodial parent. My ex-husband will have our 3 yr old daughter for the month of July. Last Summer, prior to our divorce being finalized, I watched out daughter during the day and he had her every night and weekend of July. I have Summers off, do I’m able to do this. My fear is that this July, he will want our daughter to be in daycare instead of allowing me to watch her just out of spite. Do I have any say in this matter or is her childcare for the month of July completely up to him?

    Thank you,


  25. Chris Schmiedeke January 12, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    Typically the child care is up to him. However, if you feel really strongly about it, you could petition the Court to modify the order allowing you to have “first right of refusal” over a babysitter. I would recommend you get an attorney for this.

    Good luck.

  26. Charlie January 20, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    Hi Chris I have a question I am the non custodial parent and I get July 1st through July 31st with my son the custodial parent is allowed one weekend if she gives me written notice now being as July 1st is on a Friday can she actually choose that very first weekend

  27. Liz W. January 21, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    I have a question.
    Recently divorced, so this will be the first time we exercise the summer schedule, and I’m kind of losing my mind over not seeing my small boys for so long. They are 4 and 5, and they are in daycare. I was wondering if legally, I could take a day off work, pick them up from daycare, have a nice day together and then return them to daycare before their father picks them up after work? I would not be cutting into and of HIS time with them because they would be in school anyway. Is this legal? What are my options?

  28. Chris Schmiedeke January 21, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Unless your court order specifically provides for that kind of access you are most likely going to need his agreement to have possession over his extended summer possession. While they are in daycare and not technically with him, it is still his time. Just as you wouldn’t want him to show up at some random time and remove them from daycare, the same applies to you.

    If you want to modify your order to include a right of first refusal, meaning that you can keep them over a daycare during the summer, then I suggest you contact an attorney and get something on file with the Court.

    Don’t forget that you can designate a weekend inside his thirty day extended summer possession as well.

    Good luck to you.

  29. Chris Schmiedeke January 21, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    She can designate any weekend inside your thirty days. If July 1 is a Friday, then she could elect that Friday through Sunday the 3rd. Don’t forget however, that under a standard possession order in Texas, July 1-31 are the default dates if you do not designate your own. You could designate your own dates and get whatever you want (assuming you have a standard possession order).

    Good luck.

  30. wy January 22, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    My ex and I have 3 kids together, 17, 15, 11 years old. I have SPO agreement. Im not gonna go into all details but I drive 110 miles one way to get them on fridays, so 440 miles round trip each weekend. I get them 1st, 3rd, 5th weekend.. When i try to arrange a new schedule for my kids activities my wife just sends back the time/location of our meeting spot as she says we have to go 100% by court order. But this is hurting my kids, because now my son has games on fridays at our meeting time, so i may have to drive 150 miles to get him (she will be within 30 miles of the game), but refuse to meet me at game, thus i have to take my son and drive anywhere from 80 to 100 miles of our normal meeting spot. If she wants to go 100% by court order and not consider the kids having to drive all over, isnt she the one that physically has to drop them off to me? Im the one having to pick one or two of them up, then drive all the way back to our meeting spot to get the others!! its absurd. So this next weekend my son has game only 50 miles from me (that is extremely close for once). but again she expects me to pick him up and do her job and bring him to our meeting spot. i feel i have a right to tell her if she cant meet me at game locations which are usually as close or closer than our meeting spot for her, that she needs to make sure and have all 3 kids when we meet instead of me doing that for her. i hope this is clear as I need advice on what to say. i guess what I am asking is does possession start at the time of normal drop off, or does it actually start when she DROPS them of to me?

  31. Chris Schmiedeke January 26, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    You have to follow the Court order. Unfortunately orders are not very flexible, and they can’t be because it would make them unenforceable. Meaning, they need to say what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it, and where you are supposed to do it. That way if it doesn’t happen, it can be enforced by the court. You cannot have provisions that are gray.

    You really should talk to an attorney in your area and see if there is something they can do for you.

    Good luck.

  32. wy January 26, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

    thanks chris, but I guess what i was asking was is if kids have games at the time of our drop off meeting, it has to be delayed or it cant be done. It is her responsibility to get them to the meeting place, correct? I am having to go pick up one or two in different locations and then go meet her for the last one.

  33. Cierra January 27, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    Thank you for the insight & for answering FAQ. I greatly appreciate it.

    Ive read most of your answers and havent came across this question yet. As the custodial parent what should my written notice for the weekend within NCP’s month entail? Should I have it delivered certified mail?

  34. Chris Schmiedeke January 27, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    Your visitation takes precedent over any extracurriculars. That includes pick up and drop offs. Those are to take place at the time and place designated in the order (not the soccer fields, etc…) I suppose if you wanted to play hard ball you could require her to be at the place and time of the order. That would obviously kill any extracurriculars of the child, but perhaps that is the motivation the mother needs to work with you.

    Again, get in touch with a local attorney. You may need one to enforce the transfer provisions.

  35. Chris Schmiedeke January 27, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    I assume you are referring to your summer weekends under the standard possession order? You need to simply designate the Friday that you will pick up and the Sunday that you will return. I assume your order already says that you pick up and drop off at 6:00 p.m., but if it does not then you would need to designate that too.

    Certified mail is always the way to communicate with the opposing party. Return receipt requested (the green card). Also send it regular first class mail as well. That is two notices in two different envelopes. Notice is considered delivered when you deposit it in the mail, whether he picks it up or not.

    Good luck to you.

  36. wy January 27, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    Thanks Chris, my last reply went to another page for some reason. I hired a new lawyer today. On my court order it does show that I can notify her at any times to bypass my weekends. NOT THAT i want to, but she is making my kids MISS their events/sports games to follow the court order to the point. There comes a point where common sense has to prevail and even though i am skipping my weekends my lawyer has told me just document everything and keep her text messages saved to prove she is making my kids miss their events just to spite me. Anyways, thanks for your help Ive been dealing with this for 8 years now, i thought it would get better but it only gets worse and worse. Going for full custody this time, tired of all the drama.

  37. sandy richardson February 23, 2016 at 11:06 pm #

    Can the father write me a letter saying he’s not bringing our daughter for her Thursday visit ? can he do that ? I get her 1st 3rd and 5th weekend

  38. Chris Schmiedeke March 2, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    I’m not following what you are asking. I assume you have standard visitation and are entitled to Thursdays. You should get the visitation set out in the orders. If you are not, you should contact an attorney and ask them to file an enforcement to enforce your court ordered possession.

  39. Ericka March 13, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Chris,

    My order states “Notwithstanding the Thursday periods of possession during the regular school term and the weekend periods of possession ordered for ‘non-custodial parent’.”

    Does this mean that when its my summer possession that he doesn’t get Thursdays or Weekends? Or does he just not get Thursdays?

    Thank you!

  40. Chris Schmiedeke March 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    You are reading the wrong provision. Look at where the Thursdays are ordered. I bet it says “during the school term”. That is what controls the Thursday visits. You will notice that the weekends probably do not say the same thing. That is because weekends typically continue in the summer.

  41. Michael Meadows March 26, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    I’m trying to get the summer pocession straight.
    I’m non custodial, therfore the mom, (custodial) can choose one of her weekends during my period of pocession while we are out of state and prevent us from making the trip?

  42. patti March 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    Hi Chris, my husbands ex keeps giving him a hard time everytime we get my stepdaughter. She now is claiming that because we are going to get her for the whole month of July we won’t get her June nor August. Please explain so I can explain to him. He is confused because of all the drama because she is always claiming and changing things on him.

  43. Rob March 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm #


    I moved 240 miles away from ex six months after divorce. We have 2 children under joint custody, standard possession format — no modifications. I am non-custodial.

    My decree says Friday (specific time) for a pickup and Sunday (specific time) for drop off. As an executive, I cannot manage to drive down to meet at (or event around) the time and then drive them back up–twice. She is inflexible and halfway has been proposed but not accepted — she defers to decree.

    What can I do or what can a lawyer do for me? I certainly appreciate it.

  44. Bill Heard March 30, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    Here’s a question…. the non-custodial has send notice claiming 2 separate periods of extended possesion this summer, however, they are claiming them “sandwiched” between two weekends in which they would normally have possession. Example: The father picks them up on Friday, 6/3/16 at 6:00 pm, and returns them at 6:00 pm on 6/19… and claims that only 12 days of extended summer possession have been used since the first weekend was technically the non-custodial’s and the third weekend was the non-custodial’s also. I believe this to be a 16 consecutive day period of extended possession. What’s your take?

    Next, if the non-custodial sends notice that doesn’t conform to the Final Decree of Divorce, can I assume that it’s the same as no notice, and the result would be the father receiving 7/1-1/31?

  45. Billie Sangwin March 31, 2016 at 1:39 am #

    I am the Non Custodial parent & I have a question about travelin. Durin July while I have my girls, I want 2 travel 352 miles 4 vacation. Do I have 2 permission from their Dad or give a notice?? I’ve read our decree multiple times & can’t find the answer. Their Dad says I can’t go further than 90 miles.

  46. Katie April 6, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    My ex husband and I got divorced in Texas but I have since moved to Wisconsin he rarely calls and only wants our son for the summer if he does not pick him up on the date specified in the court order can he still get him after or can I deny his possession?

  47. nathan April 8, 2016 at 7:43 am #

    My possession order as the visiting parent gives me the 30 days, but if my ex takes a weekend put of it, that means I’m actually only getting 28 days. Do I get to add two additional days to that possession?

  48. Christopher April 12, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

    I am NCP and am recently new to ESPO. We were 50/50 verbal but that ended this Spring Break due to not being able to agree, or me not being able to just give up my spring break because she had plans. I now have 1, 3, and 5th Fridays, and every Thursday during school year, Thursday after school to Monday start of school on 1, 3 and 5th. This year the last day of school is Thursday June the 2nd. I read my ESPO as that being a Thursday during the school year and Friday being a day of no school. I believe I should have the girls from Thursday after school through Monday 6:00pm, am I mis-reading this? Also for the summer we have no start time, just states possession begins after daycare, girls are 12 and 13 now, and no longer require the daycare they did when we divorced. Is this something the courts would need to weigh in on, she believes it should be 6:00pm.

  49. Lola April 13, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    Can the Custodial Parent take a weekend away for her possession during summer if it falls on August 20 – 21 2016 if school begins that Monday? The decree states that all visits must be done by 7 days prior to school resuming. Can she still take that weekend from me?

  50. Grace April 14, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    Hi quick question, my ex is stating that I must allow him to get our son in Thursday nights still through out the summer even though our order is a standard and states during the regular school term.
    He is basing this on two previous summers when my child was younger and he forfeited his month of July so in leui of that I suggested he get him those Thursday nights. Now he is exercising his rights to the month of July and said I still have to let him keep Thursday nights since we established a pattern and the courts would enforce it. It only happened for two summers and during those two summers he didn’t take the month of July. Is this true? Will the courts make me send him Thursday night during summer even though he’s decided to now get him that whole month of July?

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