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A Twist for the July/August Texas Standard Possession Order

Hi, I’m Chris Schmiedeke of Divorced Simplified, and rather than type out a blog post today on the summer possession or the end of the summer possession under a Texas standard possession order for August, I figured I’d do a video this time and maybe use a calendar to illustrate some points that I would like y’all to check out. So I’m going to bring the calendar in, and then I want to go over a few points with y’all, discuss what’s kind of an interesting thing that happened at the end of July that I want everybody to just see because I think it illustrates a really good point. And then I want to cover what the August visitation looks like and then discuss school starting up again and how that relates with the COVID-19 and all of that.

All right. So if you will look at the last month here of July, so I’ve highlighted this section here which is the summer possession order. So I’ve gotten this question no less than 20 times about what happens at the end of the summer possession because it ends on July 31st and the fifth weekend is that weekend. So if you will look at this, understand that I’m only talking about a Texas standard possession order. So if you don’t have a Texas standard possession order, or if things I’m saying don’t match up with what’s in your decree or your order, then you don’t have a Texas summer standard possession order, or you’ve modified some of the terms. But under the provisions for extended summer possession in the standard possession order, you have the default, which is July 1st to July 31st. Okay. So, if you didn’t elect any special days for your summer possession, you’re going to have those 30 days by default, all right.

So it begins here on July 1st at 6:00 PM, and it ends here on July 31st at 6:00 PM. All right. So the question is, okay, I’m the noncustodial parent. I have my kid all the way through July, all the way down here. And my possession ends at 6:00 PM. But, it is also the first, third, fifth, Friday of the month. So now what happens because my fifth, Friday of the month, I get weekend possession. Right? And we know, and I say that in terms of you probably might not know, but now you are going to know, that holiday possessions always overwrite weekend possessions. Always. Whether it’s Christmas, summer, whatever. So, this visitation here, the first Friday, this visitation here, the second Friday, none of those exist because they’re swallowed up by this whole visitation here.

Oh, but what about this one here? Is this one swallowed up by all of this? Well, if we highlight that and go to the day, we’re not highlighting that we highlight this day here, and go to the day, you can see in a visual format that they do not, there are no gaps here. They go back to back. One end right here at six o’clock. Sorry. Right here at six o’clock. And the weekend possession starts right here at six o’clock. There are no gaps, right? So you would return the child at six and then here you would pick up the child at six. Well, obviously that doesn’t make any sense, right? So you would just keep the child for your fifth weekend of the month because you are now, this is outside the extended summer possession. This is inside the extended summer possession. So the fifth weekend would occur. So that illustrates a good point about a standard possession order is designed to lay out the access and possession of the noncustodial parents.

So all of the typical standard possession order we’ll deal with is the noncustodial parent’s time with the child. Now, there are a few caveats where they’ll throw something in for the custodial parent, but the bulk of it, 98% of it is about the noncustodial parent’s visitation. So if you are outside of that, then the custodial parent gets anything outside of what’s given to the noncustodial parent. There’s a provision in there that says the custodial parent will get all visitations not otherwise designated to the noncustodial parent. So let’s make an illustration of that right here. So if I go here, let’s just pretend that your summer possession order said July 1st at 6:00 PM and it’s going to end at 3:00 PM on July 31st. Okay. So now I’ve changed it. So now just pretend, this isn’t in anybody’s order because that’s not the default, but I want to illustrate this.

So let’s say this ends at 3:00 PM here. And we know that all possessions not designated to the noncustodial parent are the custodial parents, right? So let’s go here to this day. Now, look at what happened. Now you’ve got a situation where this visitation ended at three. So the custodial parent non-custodial has here. This is not designated. So, who gets that if it’s not designated? The custodial parent.  So you would have to return the child at three, the custodial parent would have the child from three to six and then the noncustodial now has their fifth weekend and would take possession. So you can see how that works. So what you’re looking for when you’re trying to figure out possessions are the gaps. Are there any gaps, right? Because if there’s a gap, that belongs to the noncustodial typically. But we know that under standard possession order, extended summer possession, the default goes all the way down here to six.

So there is no gap. So you would just keep the child for the remainder of that weekend. And now you’re in August. All right. So this is when your possession would end at 6:00 PM or maybe it’s 8:00 AM the next day. I don’t know what your order says, but under a normal default situation that begins at six, ends at six, Friday at six to Sunday at six. Okay. So let’s move on then. In August, these are your possession days. All right. We’ve got a fifth Friday of last month. So that makes this the first Friday of August. This is the third Friday of August. So you are going to have the first and the third weekend, if you’re the noncustodial parent. What about all these blanks in here. Who gets the blanks? The custodial parent does.

However, somewhere in here, the kid’s school is going to start back up. All right. And I don’t know when that is because everybody’s schools are different, but let’s just say that school starts back here on the 17th, okay? You are going to reintegrate your weekday possessions on the first-weekday possession that follows that. So if school started here and we had the 17th was the school start, then you would have your Thursday possession right here. So you would have your Thursday six to eight or whatever. Okay. We are in school, right? So let’s talk about what that means in school. Well, my kids aren’t going back to school. They’re going to be at home. They don’t start back till September. No. Every school district is going to start the year at the same time that they always have. Now, whether they’re doing it remotely or whether they’re doing it in person, I don’t know. That doesn’t matter. You just pretend remote is the same thing as going to school, all right?

Those are the COVID-19 rules that started way back in March. All right. So you say, oh, well, my kid’s not in school. They’re three. Okay. Doesn’t matter. Where would they be going to school, public school, if they were in school? When you know that, you go to that school district’s calendar, look at the calendar, figure out when school starts, it will have it on there, the first day of school is August 18th, fine. August 18th is the day when the summer ends. Every time after that, the weekdays start, and then of course your weekend possessions continue just as they did throughout the summer. So I don’t know how to make that any clearer, nothing changes because they’re remote or in person. It doesn’t matter. You just, they are in school or they aren’t in school. If they’re three years old, then we pretend they’re six and they’re in school and you follow the pickup and drop off times.

If it’s when school is dismissed and they’re working remote, right. So let’s say they’re at the custodial parent’s house. They’re in remote school and your possession in, your order says your possession begins when school is dismissed. All right. When is school dismissed? I don’t care that they’re remote, pretend that it’s not remote. Pretend they’re in school. When is school dismissed? If that’s 2:50 PM is when they would be dismissed for in-person school, then your possession begins at 2:50 PM when school is dismissed and you’re going to pick up per the normal procedure. Now that maybe you pick up from school and if they’re remote, then you’re going to pick up from the other parent’s house. All right. That simple. If you returned to school at 8:00 AM on Monday, then you would return to the school of the custodial parent back to their remote learning situation or whatever. All right.

So that’s about as clear as I think I can make that. Don’t get caught up in their remote. Don’t do that. It’s just they’re in school or they’re not in school. Right? Right now they’re not in school in summer. They’re going to start next month. Whatever that date is, is when the summer ends and you go back to your weekday visits. All right. So I can’t make that any clearer. I hope that helps. I hope the August visitations that I set out helped. And I hope maybe you learned a little bit of something about how the possession order works in terms of when I was discussing it at the end.

So you kind of got to put that timeline together. You’re always looking to see, build it out on a calendar to know when everybody… There should never be any gaps. You should be able to put in the noncustodial parent’s time, and when that ends, you start the custodial parent’s time. And then you go all the way to the next noncustodial parent. And then there’s that gap. And then custodial. It’s just a timeline. There should never be overlaps and there should never be gaps. All right. Hope that helps. Talk to you next month.

Chris Schmiedeke


I was born in Dallas and spent the majority of my life here. I moved to Denver in the middle of the first grade and moved back to Plano in the middle of the eleventh grade. I graduated from Plano Senior High in 1984 and then attended Richland College and the University of North Texas where a received a Bachelor of Business Administration. From there I attended the Texas Tech University School of Law and was licensed to practice law in May of 1993. 

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