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Summer Provisions in the Texas Standard Possession Order

Hi, everyone. I wanted to shoot a quick video on the notice provisions for the extended summer possession under a Texas standard possession order. It is without a doubt, the most confusing part of the standard possession order for the general public. My emails and my contacts on my website blow up every summer because people simply do not understand what’s going on in the summer. So I’m going to start to deconstruct that a little bit and help everyone understand it a bit better.

Here we have a section of a typical order or a final decree of divorce, and this is the possession and access schedule of a standard possession order. Your order will look very similar or maybe even exactly like this standard possession order. This is the basic standard possession order not the extended, but that is not really relevant in terms of what we are going to talk about right now which is the notice for the extended summer possession.

My non-custodial parent is Jane Jones and she’s married to John Jones and they have kids together. So Jane Jones is the non-custodial parent. If Jane Jones gives written notice by April 1st she will be able to request her extended summer possession for that year. Her deadline notice is when, April 1st, okay? So she’s going to have the child for 30 days in the summer. That is the extended summer possession.

That extended summer possession cannot begin any earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for summer vacation, meaning you cannot start your extended summer possession on the day the child is dismissed for summer vacation. So I’m going to highlight, I want you all to see that 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. So whenever the summer vacation is you are going to count back seven days. For most of us, that’s going to be right around the beginning of August. So it cannot extend into those days before summer ends.

So what are we talking about here? We are talking about picking custom dates for the extended summer possession. If you do not pick custom dates for the extended summer possession because you do not give written notice, or you just don’t want to give written notice, then you can see that Jane Jones does not give notice by April 1st of a year specifying the extended summer possession Jane Jones shall have possession of the child for 30 consecutive days in that summer beginning at 6:00 PM on July 1st and ending 6:00 PM on July 1st. Give notice by April 1st, you can pick custom dates. Do not give notice by April 1st and you are subject to the default dates of July 1st to July 31st, all right?

Let’s say that Jane Jones wants to have custom dates that year. Those visits must be exercised in no more than two periods of possession of at least seven consecutive days. You cannot have more than two periods. So you can do two 15-day periods, you can do a 21 and a nine but you cannot do a 24 and a 6, right? Because if you do the 24 and the 6, one of them is not at least seven consecutive days.  You can have 15 and 15, 21 and 9, all of those are acceptable. Two separate periods but you cannot do more than two separate periods.

And if you are the non-custodial parent and you are the mom, whatever date you pick cannot overwrite dad’s Father’s Day possession. Dad will get Father’s Day possession. If you are the father and you are the non-custodial parent and you choose to overwrite your Father’s Day possession then you can do that you’re just giving up that weekend so you would be better served to pick a time that does not overlap that so that you get Father’s Day in addition to your 30 days extended summer possession. So those are the notice requirements for the extended summer possession under a Texas standard possession order.

Now let’s go down here. John Jones is the custodial parent. Jane Jones has selected a custom set of dates. She did two separate periods of 15 days each, which equals 30 days. If John Jones gives Jane Jones written notice by April 15th of a year, John Jones shall have possession of the child on any one weekend, beginning 6:00 PM on Friday and ending at 6:00 PM on the following Sunday, during any one period of the extended summer possession. I’m going to double highlight that extended summer possession. This is inside the extended summer possession.

So if Jane Jones had given two 15-day notices for two separate periods of 15 days you can pick one weekend inside those 15 days. If Jane did not give notice and she defaults to July 1st to July 31st, then you get one weekend in July provided you give written notice by April 15th of that year, which is obviously coming up very quickly.

However, here’s the little tricky part. Whatever weekend that the custodial parent picks in this case, John Jones, John Jones must pick up the child from Jane Jones and return the child to that same place. So that’s a little tricky provision there because if Jane is away on a vacation somewhere John has to go to that place to pick up the child and return the child to that same place. Now, here’s the kicker to that. Jane must give John written notice not later than the 15th day before the Friday that begins the weekend, of the location that they shall pick up and return the child.

So let’s say that Jane is traveling out of state and she is going to Seattle for the summer for her 30-day possession, and John says, okay, I’m going to notify you by April 15th that I want to pick a weekend right in the middle of July for that possession. If Jane has not given John notice prior to 15 days before that Friday, then that possession would take place here in Texas. If she has given him notice 15 days or more before that weekend possession, inside the extended summer possession, then John’s got to go pick them up in Seattle and return them there. That is a super important provision there.  So if you’re going to use your extended summer weekend custodial parent, you had better make sure that you know where the child is going to be, and non-custodial parent, if you’re going to be out of state you had better notify them that you are going to be out of state and that they have to pick up the child from you where you are going to be located.

Now, let’s jump onto this next provision here. So I said that this weekend that you get is inside of the extended summer possession, it’s inside that 30-day period or inside of the two 15-day periods or inside of the 21 and 9-day periods. It’s inside that extended summer possession. Now outside of the extended summer possession, you get another weekend, non-custodial parent, okay?

So let’s say that John wants to have a weekend in June. If he gives Jane Jones notice by April 15th. So there’s that deadline or gives Jane Jones 14 days written notice on or after April 16th of a year, John may designate one weekend, beginning no earlier than the same provisions above for when it can occur. It can’t be on the day the children are dismissed and it can’t be seven days, within seven days of them returning to school. John’s going to get a weekend that would otherwise have been given to Jane.

And what does that mean? That means that and this is probably the number one question I get, the weekend possessions that the parent gets for the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month, continue through the summer. I will repeat myself, the weekend possessions under a standard possession order continue through the summer. The first, third, and fifth Fridays at six till Sundays at six continue through the summer.

The only way they don’t occur is if it’s in the extended summer possession of that parent. So if John Jones in this scenario who has custody he is the custodial parent. If he wants one of those first, third, and fifth weekends this is the provision that deals with that. So John is going to get one weekend inside the extended summer possession and he is going to get one weekend outside of the extended summer possession.

So in this scenario, it would probably be in, let’s say, Jane did not designate and she’s getting July 1st to July 31st, then John would get something in June probably that did not interfere with Father’s Day, or maybe he wanted something in the very beginning of August, as long as it was more than seven days out from when school’s going back.

So those are the two custodial parent weekends that they get in the summer. One is inside of this extended summer possession and this one is outside of the extended summer possession.

All right, so as much as I try to simplify this thing, I feel like I maybe sometimes maybe make it even more confusing. So I’m doing the best I can to simplify for you. So let’s look at it from a different perspective. Let’s look at it from the perspective of the non-custodial parent, okay?

So non-custodial parent, if you want to do a custom extended summer possession then you need to designate by April 1st. If you want to default to the 30 days in July then you don’t have to give that notice, okay? You are looking at basically two separate types of visitation in the summer. Your extended summer possession and then your regular weekend possessions. Those are the two things that you’re concerned about, okay?

Now, custodial parent let’s look at it from your perspective. You know that the non-custodial is going to get their weekend possessions and they’re going to get the extended summer possessions. If you want to piece together a vacation or something you need to understand that you get two weekends in addition to the second and fourth Fridays which will be your weekends as well. But you get two weekends that you get to swipe away from the non-custodial parent.

One weekend is inside of their 30-day extended summer possession. That notice has to be given by April 15th if you want that weekend inside of their extended summer possession. The weekend that you want is outside of their extended summer possession when you’re snagging one of their first, third, and fifth weekends, you only have to give them the two-week notice to get that. So you don’t have to notify me by April 15th. You can, if you want to, but otherwise you just have to give them at least two weeks’ notice of that period.

So that’s kind of the basics of the extended summer possession and the notice provisions. So stay tuned for some future monthly reviews of the Texas standard possession order and I will try to dial in the summer visit a little bit more in detail. Talk to you soon.

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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