SUMMER VISITATION IN TEXAS
For the parent with visitation (also called the non-custodial parent): April 1st of each year is the deadline to designate your thirty days of extended summer possession if you have a Texas standard possession order. If you designate days, then you know when your visit begins and ends. If you did not designate your visitation times by April 1st then it defaults to July 1 through July 31st. The possession beginning and ending times are 6:00 p.m. by default in Texas. Always check your order for exact dates and times for the exchange as sometimes they are modified.
The key phrase in the above paragraph is Extended Summer Possession. That is the thirty days that the non-custodial parent gets in the summer in addition to their standard weekends throughout the summer.
You do not have to default to the standard July 1 – July 31 dates, but you must give notice of your exact dates prior to April 1 pursuant to the rules for notification set out in your order.
Custodial parent (parent with custody): For the custodial parent, you have certain times set out for you for summer visitation in Texas as well. If you give the visiting parent notice by April 15th you can designate one weekend inside their thirty (30) day period of extended summer possession to have the child. It will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and you must pick-up and drop-off the child to the non-custodial parent. If you did not designate this weekend by April 15th then you lose that weekend. Notice that this weekend is “inside” the extended summer possession of the non-custodial parent, meaning it is within the thirty days.
If the visiting parent did not designate their thirty (30) day summer possession by April 1st then we know they get the month of July. If the custodial parent gives notice between April 2 and April 15 of a weekend in July that they would like possession of the child, they get that weekend. If they do not give notice during that time frame (April 2 – April 15) they do not get any weekend during the thirty days extended summer visitation of the visiting parent.
The custodial parent gets an additional summer weekend pursuant to the standard visitation orders in Texas. This weekend takes place outside of the visiting parent’s thirty (30) day extended summer possession. If the custodial parent gives the non-custodial parent notice by April 15th, or 14 days written notice on or after April 16th, that parent can choose one weekend during the summer to exercise visitation that would have otherwise been the visiting parent’s standard weekend possession. Again, this visit begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ends at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday and the custodial parent must pick-up and drop-off the child. Again, check your orders for the exact transfer times as they may be different than 6:00 p.m. If the non-custodial parent did not elect another visitation period(s) by April 1st, we know that the visiting parent has extended summer possession for the month of July in Texas without any notice. That leaves June and August for the custodial parent to choose a weekend that is outside the extended summer possession.
Again, check your order for exact times for pick up and drop off as they may vary in your order. There are many variations to a standard possession order in Texas, so make sure to read and understand your order. If you need help, contact family lawyers in Arlington, TX for help understanding your order.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into family law and summer visitation.