texas standard possession order de-mystified – holiday possessions

I will finish up my series on the Texas Standard Possession order with a discussion on the holiday visits.  These holidays typically include Spring Break, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Other “holidays” can include Father’s day, Mother’s day, children’s birthdays, Halloween, 4th of July, etc…  However, the standard is the first three.

I do not typically run into many issues with Holiday visits in my practice as they are pretty self explanatory.  They typically begin at the time the child is dismissed from school and end at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school and follow an odd and even year pattern.

I sometimes get asked why the possessions end at 6:00 p.m. and not on the following Monday morning as a standard weekend may end.  The only answer I can provide is that it is designed for the child to be able to unwind after the holiday and get back into the school routine prior to returning to school.  This is not to say that your order cannot say something different, this is just the standard language in Texas.

The pickup time “when the child is dismissed from school” used to be a source of controversy, especially around Thanksgiving.  Many schools would let out for the week of Thanksgiving which is easy to follow, but they would also schedule a teacher day or in-service day the Friday before the holiday week.  The confusion arose over whether this was actually the beginning of the holiday or not.  The Texas legislature recently fixed that problem by confirming that the in-service day was indeed the beginning of the “holiday”.

That is about all I have on the Texas standard possession order and holidays.  If my readers have some general comments or questions, I would be happy to answer them under the comments section.

, , , , , , , , ,

87 Responses to texas standard possession order de-mystified – holiday possessions

  1. Chris Schmiedeke November 17, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    You are overthinking this. Let’s say the child’s birthday is today, Tuesday, November 17th. Which parent is entitled to possession of the child today? I am going to assume that there is a standard possession order in place. In that case, the parent who has custody has the child today as it is a Tuesday.

    Since the custodial parent has possession on Tuesday, the other parent would get 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

    The easiest way to think about it is to understand what the purpose of the provision is. It is to let a parent see their child on the child’s birthday when they would not otherwise be able to do so because of the possession order.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Maureen November 19, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    Who picks up and returns children for visitation if both parties reside over 100 miles apart? SPO has nothing checked.

  3. Ashton November 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    I have a SPO. I’m a NC parent. My concern is in regards to this upcoming thanksgiving holiday. Now this following weekend is my normal weekend to get my child. In my order it says I shall have possession of the child in odd numbered years beginning at 6:00 pm on the day the child is dismissed from school before thanksgiving and ending at 6:00 pm on the following Sunday. Now my question is the Sunday that I take my child back is it the Sunday, which is November 29th 2015 that I take my child back or the Following Sunday which would be November 22nd 2015? I only ask because when I read the order for Christmas it specifically says to surrender child “day BEFORE school resumes” and thanksgiving says “on following Sunday”.

  4. Leslea November 24, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    My ex and I have a SPO. He has NEVER taken his Extended Holiday Visitation (not summer, spring break, Thanksgiving or Christmas). We’ve basically just kept the regular weekend visitations during this time and in previous years, tried to be together during most holidays. He’s now threatening me that he is going to take time away from me due to the fact that he’s a narcissist. He was supposed to take possession on Friday after school let out for Thanksgiving. He didn’t (surprise, surprise). He’s saying he “gets our son on Thanksgiving”. Am I under any obligation to allow this? My understanding is that he doesn’t get to pick and choose his visitation. Can I modify the visitation to take away the extended time so I am able to make plans with my child? Since we’ve been doing the SPO throughout the year, is there a precedent that’s been set that I can fall back on? I’m not willing to go through this stress every holiday season. Thank you for your advice.

  5. Valerie brandon December 3, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    I am the custodial parent this christmas is my year for 2015 it says i have my son when school gets out for christmas break till the 26th at noon, does this mean i get him without his fathers thirsday visits or weekends interupting my time?

  6. Chris Schmiedeke December 3, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    Holiday visits trump standard weekends and Thursdays, meaning that they do not occur during holidays.

  7. Chris Schmiedeke December 3, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    His visits begin and end when the order says they do. He does not get to pick and choose. He also does not get to jump into the middle of a scheduled visit and get a day (like Thanksgiving day). If they do not appear at the time and place designated for pickup (or reasonably around that time of the day) then they forfeit the entire visit.

    Yes, you can modify his visitation based upon the fact that he never uses the extended visits. You will need a lawyer to handle that for you. Good luck.

  8. Chris Schmiedeke December 3, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    You return the child on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. Used to be that Thanksgiving holidays for kids started the week of Thanksgiving, hence the “following” Sunday language. However, now most kids get out the Friday before Thanksgiving week which means the “following Sunday” is only a few days away. Just poor wording in your order.

  9. Chris Schmiedeke December 3, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    Whatever the order says. If the order doesn’t say anything then you have to do it by agreement (in writing is always better). If you cannot agree, then you need to go to Court and fix your order. Good luck!

  10. Shawn March 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    I have a SPO over 100 miles and get every spring break. I also get one weekend a month. Do I get both in the same month or does the spring break negate the weekend visit?

  11. Chris Schmiedeke March 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    Depends on when the weekend visit is. If the weekend visit is during Spring Break, then yes, it disappears. If is another weekend besides Spring Break, then it would not be affected by Spring Break.

  12. Amy March 23, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

    I am so confused about this coming weekend. I have my children this weekend but the problem is with the whole Thursday possesion. Their father is suppose to pick them up every single Thursday right after school and drop them back off the following day as soon as school starts. This Friday my children don’t have school because of the holiday weekend. So, do my children still go with their father this Thursday?

  13. Chris Schmiedeke March 24, 2016 at 8:12 am #

    There should be a provision in your order that deals with the Father’s return of the children when they are not in school. It is typically found in the General Terms and Conditions section.

    I have no idea if your order has that in there. What the typical provision says, is that the father returns the children to school at the time school resumes, but, if school is not in session, then return to the custodial parent at their residence at 8:00 a.m. (or some time around that).

    Under a standard possession order, the non-custodial parent’s Thursday remains in effect this Thursday. If they are to return them to school, then the order should dictate what happens when not in school. If the order does not dictate what happens when they are not in school, then agreements would have to be reached.

  14. Renee March 29, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    I have a question about the child’s birthday. For the last three years the father has chosen his summer possession period to include the child’s birthday which means the mother has the 6-8pm possession. My question is since this may always be the case that father uses his right to summer possession to take the child on his birthday for each year until 18 if there would be any ground to modify the order? Maybe I am being over sensitive but my son is 10 years old and as a mother it is very difficult to have the father and stepmother constantly remind me that I have and will not spend my childs birthday with him and I am allowed my two hours.

  15. Brandi June 18, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    On Father’s day does the father have the child’s until Monday rather than Sunday evening?

  16. Chris Schmiedeke June 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    What does your order say? The order controls.

  17. Worried July 3, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    The custodial parent denied me the summer vacation althought I gave her my notice before April 1st but we got him last summer when baby was 1yrs old as it stated on temporary order.We have since got a final order that gives standard visitation and cp said no until he is 3 yrs old he dont get summer visits.Is that true?Also do I get the extended visit for 4th of july it falls on monday?Thanks

  18. ika codina August 24, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    I’m the cuatodial parent and my birthday always falls onnlabor day which is the first weekend of the month, do i not have thr right to see my child on my birthday?

  19. Kayla October 13, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    We live in Texas. My husband and his ex alternate years for spring break. (Do we still pick up the child on Thursdays and 1,3,5 of month during her year of spring break or does it supersede our regular visitation schedule ) and on her half of the summer does it supersede our normal visitation schedule. And for her half Christmas she gets him the 28 and on do I still get to get my kid which is the 1st 2nd &3rd or since it falls on her half of the holiday I don’t get to pick him up? Is it the Same for her half of thanksgiving?

  20. Jessica Walker November 14, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    Extended visitation; custodial parent has Thanksgiving this year. Does non-custodial still get overnight Thursday evening? School is still is session on Friday. Holiday officially begins with release on Friday. If this wasn’t the beginning of Thanksgiving, non-custodial would have possession Thurs-Mon.

  21. Cris valle December 21, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    I have an SPO…if I have my daughters from the time
    School ends for Christmas vacation until the 28th and she has then from the 28th until school starts, so I still see them on my Thursday and scheduled weekends during the time she has them?

  22. Jess December 28, 2016 at 7:10 am #

    I know this is extremely late after the post has been piblished, but hoping to get an answer.
    My child is two. Do the extended visits still apply to her even though she’s not in school? I figured age would make no difference on the extended visits. But I just want to be sure whether extended visits apply regardless of a child’s age.

  23. Brittany February 13, 2017 at 9:05 am #

    We have a modified visitation until she starts pre-k. Does the holidays still trump that? Our current visitation is set up that he has her a week and that I have her a week. The lady told us that we still have to follow the holiday schedule but he is saying no. Does this still apply?

  24. Ashley February 22, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

    SPO Spring Break visitation – does it begin Friday after school or would it be Monday when the school calendar recognizes it as spring break. Thank you in advance.

  25. Jessica March 29, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    In my husbands PO it states that he gets spring break in even years but does not specifically state that the CP gets a spring break in odd years like it specifically states for other holidays. From my understanding, this means in odd years the CP will get her normal weekend and during the week for spring break, but not his regularly ordered weekend during the spring break holiday. Is this correct?

  26. Chris Schmiedeke April 3, 2017 at 8:20 am #

    Jessica, a Texas standard possession order specifically sets out all those dates (including spring break). If that is missing from your order then it is not a standard possessions order. I cannot comment on orders that I have not seen, nor reviewed. Sorry.

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

  27. Joe December 29, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    Read all comments from your 2010 post (and it’s almost 2018)—got some miles out of this article! Is there code or a case to backup the following quotes from you? I’m communicating with someone who needs this level of convincing. A standard weekend overlaps this year’s return from a Christmas visit.

    Standard possession order weekends do not occur during standard possession order holidays in Texas.

    Holiday visitations trump all other thursday and weekend visits. If it was your Christmas, he would not get his Thursdays or his standard weekends if it conflicted with your holiday possession.

    Holiday visits trump weekend visits. That means that any weekend visits that otherwise would have occurred despite the holiday do not occur. In a standard possession order, the custodial parent’s visitation doesn’t really “end” at that time since they will have possession of the child after the visit as well. However, when the non-custodial parents have the child for Spring Break, their visitation would end at 6:00 p.m.

    Holiday visits trump standard weekends and Thursdays, meaning that they do not occur during holidays.

  28. Kayla February 7, 2018 at 4:40 pm #

    With the standard visitation, it says he goes with him for spring break on the day the child islet out from school. But my son is 3 and does not go to school. Will this apply even before school or when kindergarten starts.

  29. Jayla March 31, 2018 at 5:36 pm #

    I have a question. I live over 100 miles from the non custodial parent and I’m designated via our order to do all the drop offs and pick ups for visits every time, no meet in the middles and he doesn’t drive. The order states he gets one weekend per month that he chooses with 14 days written notice. Based off his holiday visits as well (alternating thanksgiving, first part of winter break and last half, every spring break, and extended summer break, 2 hrs on children’s birthdays), for example: since he gets Spring Break every year, does he still get to pick another weekend in March or does Spring Break replace? Question about November/December/January as well: If he gets thanksgiving break, does he get another weekend in November as well or does this replace? Same for christmas and new years, if he gets that holiday, does that visit replace the “one weekend” or does he get to choose another weekend as well? For birthdays, the order states the parent otherwise not entitled to possession on the child’s birthday can come pick the child up on that date from 6 p – 8 p, since I have to drive for other visits, is this still in effect as well if he actually drove to us to get them?

  30. Jessica May 14, 2018 at 1:16 am #

    In TX, SPO says if school is out on a 1st 3rd or 5th Friday for a holiday or in-service day, then the weekend begins Thursday at 6pm. So my question is this:
    If school has early dismissal and lets the kids out for summer vacation on Thursday, does that weekend begin on Thursday?

  31. Elizabeth July 11, 2018 at 4:10 pm #

    In Texas, if the non custodial parent did not provide written notice on the summer time he wanted and defaulted to July…and he had her on July 1st because it was his weekend. We have taken turns picking her up from summer camp and alternating days in July. Do I, as the primary custodial parent, now have to be at his whim on when he has her? He keeps changing plans last minute, sometimes he has to have her and other times saying that I need to take her. What are my rights here? Does he have to keep her all days in order for it to be considered his extended period? Do I have to do whatever he says, whenever he says, of can we go back to the standard possession order since he did not technically exercise his extended time by keeping her all the days so far in July?

  32. Caitlan August 19, 2018 at 4:39 pm #

    My child’s father is the non custodial parent and our order states he gets him from the time school lets out Friday until school begins Monday. My child has just started 3rd grade and his father picked him up from school for the first time ever this weekend. He is bringing him home Sunday instead of taking him to school Monday. I asked him to please do so at 6 so my child has time to get ready for bed. He will not give me a time and I’m expecting it to be late. Is the any guidelines on this or can he bring him home anytime Sunday?

  33. Branden Newman November 13, 2018 at 9:02 pm #

    I have a question, I am a Texas divorced dad and for 2018, my ex has my 9 yo for Thanksgiving break per our divorce.

    I would normally have her the week of Nov 19th but she will obviously be with her mom, does that mean the following week, (Nov 26th) she is with me or her mom per below.

    After an extended summer possession, Christmas possession, Spring Break possession, or Thanksgiving possession beginning on Sunday at 6:00 p.m., the party not in possession for the immediately preceding summer possession period, the second part of Christmas possession, Spring Break possession, or Thanksgiving possession shall begin weekly possession of the child and the parties shall alternate weekly possession thereafter as ordered in 1.a. and 1.b. immediately above.

    Does this mean our weeks have now changed or does she just get her from Nov 12th-Dec 2nd?

  34. Bill March 10, 2020 at 7:49 am #

    Can you please show the legislature you mention that clarifies the holiday begins on the in-service day? I clicked on the link, but it didn’t take me to the exact legislature, and I don’t seem to be typing in the right search criteria to find it.

    I sometimes get asked why the possessions end at 6:00 p.m. and not on the following Monday morning as a standard weekend may end. The only answer I can provide is that it is designed for the child to be able to unwind after the holiday and get back into the school routine prior to returning to school. This is not to say that your order cannot say something different, this is just the standard language in Texas.

    The pickup time “when the child is dismissed from school” used to be a source of controversy, especially around Thanksgiving. Many schools would let out for the week of Thanksgiving which is easy to follow, but they would also schedule a teacher day or in-service day the Friday before the holiday week. The confusion arose over whether this was actually the beginning of the holiday or not. The Texas legislature recently fixed that problem by confirming that the in-service day was indeed the beginning of the “holiday”.

  35. Chris Schmiedeke March 11, 2020 at 12:54 pm #

    Your analysis of the Thanksgiving holiday is correct. There was a ton of confusion with this and thankfully it was fixed by the legislature.

  36. Amber Sanchez July 21, 2021 at 9:17 am #

    Question about Superior Possession..Decree states If (mother) gives (father) written notice by April 15 of a year, (mother) may designate twentyone days beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending no later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation in that year, to be exercised in no more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, during which (father) shall not have possession of the child, provided that the period or periods so designated do not interfere with (father) period or periods of extended summer possession.
    What do they mean by ‘do not interfere with periods of extended summer possession’? Is that just if the father has submitted written summer dates or his summer possession in general since without written dates it runs 55 days of June15-July 27? Does my written request for say 2 weeks in July override his possession, because then he wouldnt get 55 days.

  37. Chris Schmiedeke July 21, 2021 at 9:39 am #

    It sounds as if you are describing the summer possession for over 100 miles in a standard possession order. Assuming that is correct, I think you are referring to your weekends that you can choose that are outside of his extended summer possession.

    However, a standard possession order extended summer visit is 42 days for over 100 miles, not 55. So not sure what you are referring to.

    You get weekends inside his extended summer possession, and you get weekends outside his extended summer possession.

    The provision you quoted is for weekends OUTSIDE his extended summer possession. Therefore they cannot interfere with his extended summer.

    There is another paragraph that deals with the weekends INSIDE his extended summer possession. Those will trump his extended summer possession and would reduce the days from 42 to about 38 if you use two weekends.

    Hope that helps. My new website is http://www.divorcesimplified.law and I discuss the standard possession order at http://www.divorcesimplified.law/articles/children.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes