Weekend visits for under 100-Miles
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 throughout the year (yes, including the summer). When looking at a standard calendar (above), find the first Friday of any given month and that is the first Friday described in the standard possession order. The third Friday is self explanatory and occasionally there will be a fifth Friday in a month as shown in the calendar above.
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 This pattern continues throughout the year and is only superseded (or replaced) by holiday visitations or the extended summer possession of the visiting or non-custodial parent.
The standard pickup time for the Texas Standard Possession Order is 6:00 p.m. on the first, third and fifth 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. Always check your order for the exact pick up time as they can vary by order. This additional time is called an “expanded standard possession order“.
The standard drop off time for the Texas Standard Possession Order is 6:00 p.m. on the Sunday following the first, third and 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. Again, check your order for the exact drop off time. This also is part of the expanded standard possession order.
Weekend visit for over 100-miles
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 (and that is what is reflected in the order) then that parent would return the child to school on Tuesday morning following the Monday holiday.
A common question that I receive is whether the weekends continue through the summer. Yes they do. How do you tell that the weekends continue throughout the year, but the weekday possessions (typically Wednesdays or Thursdays, check your order) stop during the summer? Ny the language in the standard possession order. For the weekday visits (Wednesday or Thursday), the time set out is preceded by the words “during the regular school term”. That means just what it says. You will notice that this language is absent from the weekend possession language, which means the weekends are not restricted by the school term.
It is very important to note that each and every word in an order or decree from the Court is important, as are the lack of words, as just discussed. Great thought was put into the standard possession order by the legislature. Into each and every word or lack of words. Keep that in mind when reviewing your order.