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  • Writer's pictureRobert Tsai

Planning Your Texas Summer Visitation Schedule


Father and daughter outside playing while daughter is on her dad's back piggy backing him!

Getting Started: Navigating Texas Summer Visitation Schedules

Summer brings excitement for many divorced parents as they eagerly anticipate spending quality time with their children. However, navigating summer visitation schedules can be daunting, especially considering the intricacies outlined in the Texas Family Code. Understanding the nuances of summer possession schedules is key to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for both parents and children alike.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the key provisions of the Texas Family Code regarding summer custody schedules. From deadlines for submitting vacation schedules to considerations for Father's Day and Mother's Day visitation, we'll break down the essential information you need to know.

Navigating the complexities of summer possession schedules can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and guidance, you can create a summer visitation plan that works for your family.

Understanding the Summer Visitation Language of the Texas Family Code:

A managing conservator is a parent who has been lawfully given the responsibility, guardianship, and authority over a child by a court decree. In Texas, most parents are designated as joint managing conservators, which means they share the rights and responsibilities to make decisions about the child's health, education, and general welfare. Joint managing custodians are granted equal rights to access the child's health, dental, psychological, and academic records and are anticipated to consult each other on these issues.

Even in these situations, one parent is usually designated as the primary managing conservator, while the other is termed the possessory conservator. The primary managing conservator holds the exclusive right to determine the child's primary residence and is often the one people think of as having “primary custody.” A possessory conservator is a parent who does not have the authority to designate the child's primary residence. Possessory conservators may have various visitation arrangements, but the standard possession order usually provides the possessor conservator with extended summer visitation options.

How to Designate Your Summer Possession Schedule:

Designating your summer possession schedule in Texas involves several important steps. Follow these guidelines to designate your summer visitation schedule effectively:

1. Refer to Your Custody Agreement or Standard Possession Order (SPO): Begin by reviewing your custody agreement or the Standard Possession Order (SPO) provided at the conclusion of your family law matter. The SPO serves as a guide for visitation arrangements.

2. Understand the Standard Summer Visitation Schedule: Familiarize yourself with the standard summer visitation schedule in Texas for the non-custodial parent, typically consisting of thirty days during the summer months, starting from July 1st to July 31st. However, this period can be divided into two segments of at least seven consecutive days each if written notice is provided to the custodial parent by April 1st.

3. Follow the Deadlines: If you intend to deviate from the default summer schedule or exercise your visitation rights during specific dates, ensure that you provide written notice to the other parent by the deadline in your order - usually April 1st. Your notice should include the proposed dates and times of visitation, transportation arrangements, and any other relevant details. Maintain records of your communication about this with the other parent for future reference.

4. Consider Alternative Arrangements: While the standard summer visitation schedule serves as a default option, parents can mutually agree to alternative arrangements that better suit their schedules and the best interests of the child. Communication and cooperation are key in reaching agreements outside the standard provisions.

5. Seek Legal Assistance if Needed: If you encounter difficulties in reaching agreements or require clarification on rights related to summer visitation, don't hesitate to seek guidance from a family law attorney. Legal professionals can provide invaluable support in resolving conflicts, modifying visitation schedules, and protecting parental rights.

By following these steps and understanding the nuances of summer visitation in Texas, parents can navigate the process more effectively, ensuring meaningful time with their children while promoting their well-being and stability. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create positive experiences and lasting memories for both parents and children during the summer months.

Common Questions and Considerations:

1. When is summer visitation for the non-custodial parent in Texas?

The non-custodial parent is typically granted 30 days of continuous or extended possession during the summer months, beginning on July 1st and ending on July 31st, unless otherwise agreed upon or specified in the custody agreement.

2. What if I fail to provide notice of my chosen summer possession dates by April 1st?

If notice is not provided by April 1st, the non-custodial parent's summer possession period defaults to July 1st through July 31st. This is why it's essential to provide notice by April 1 if you don’t want to exercise the default option.

3. What are the custodial parent's access periods during the summer in Texas?

The custodial parent typically has two access periods during the summer: one weekend falling within the non-custodial parent's extended possession and another weekend outside of that period.

4. What if I have an Expanded Standard Possession Order (SPO)?

With an Expanded Standard Possession Order, the non-custodial parent's extended summer possession period may be extended to 42 days, with certain conditions. Additionally, the custodial parent may have the option to designate specific dates when the non-custodial parent cannot take possession of the child(ren).

5. How should I provide notice of my chosen summer possession dates?

Written notice must be provided to the other parent by April 1st, specifying the chosen dates for summer possession. It's crucial to communicate clearly and maintain records of all communication for reference.

6. Is it possible to alter the summer custody schedule if situations shift?

Yes, the summer possession schedule can be modified, either through mutual agreement between the parents or by petitioning the court for a modification if circumstances warrant it. It's advisable to seek legal assistance if modifications are necessary.

7. What Happens if Mother's Day or Father's Day Occurs During My Summer Visitation Period?

The Texas Family Code recognizes the importance of Mother's Day and Father's Day in ensuring children spend quality time with each parent on these special occasions, even during summer visitation periods. Here's how the schedule typically works:

Mother's Day: In cases where the father is the non-custodial parent, the mother has the right to have the child from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday on Mother’s Day weekend. This supersedes the usual summer visitation timetable.

Father's Day: On the other hand, if the mother is the non-custodial parent, the father has the right to have the child from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday on Father’s Day weekend. This takes priority over the regular summer visitation schedule.

8: What steps should parents take if Mother’s Day or Father’s Day falls during summer visitation?

For a hassle-free and dispute-less summer visitation timetable, it's crucial that both parents engage in effective communication well before these unique events.

9: Can adjustments be made to the visitation schedule to accommodate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day?

Yes, adjustments can be made to the visitation schedule to accommodate Mother's Day or Father's Day. Parents are encouraged to discuss potential modifications to ensure that both parents have the opportunity to celebrate these holidays with their child. By working together and considering the best interests of the child, parents can create a visitation schedule that allows for meaningful parental involvement on special occasions like Mother's Day and Father's Day, even during the summer months.

Moving Forward: Creating Your Summer Visitation Plan

Navigating summer visitation schedules in Texas requires careful attention to detail and adherence to the guidelines outlined in the Texas Family Code. From understanding the roles of managing and possessory conservators to providing timely notice of summer possession schedules, parents must navigate various complexities to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for all parties involved.

By following the steps outlined in this blog post and seeking legal assistance when needed, parents can create a summer visitation plan that promotes meaningful time with their children while upholding their rights and responsibilities under the law. Effective communication, cooperation, and flexibility are key to addressing any challenges that may arise and fostering a positive co-parenting relationship.

If you need assistance in planning your summer visitation schedule or addressing any related legal concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of Robert Tsai. We are here to provide guidance and support to help you navigate the complexities of summer visitation arrangements and ensure the best interests of your children are upheld, including giving summer visitation schedule advice.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward creating a summer visitation plan that works for your family. Let us help you navigate this process with confidence and peace of mind, knowing that your children's well-being and stability are our top priorities.


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