It’s Summer Time! How Does Our Child Visitation Schedule Work? Part 1
Summer is upon us. The kids are getting out of school, people are starting vacations and summer visitation is about to begin.
So how does the summer child visitation schedule under a standard possession order (SPO) change during the summer for parents who live within 100 miles of each other? In a Texas standard possession schedule, one of the biggest changes is that the Thursday visitation ceases. This can mean that a parent does not see the children every week like during the normal school year by having that Thursday possession. Additionally, you should look at what your order says for weekends. Some orders change the weekend possession schedule during summer from a pick up at school on Fridays with a return to school on Monday to a pick up on Friday at 6:00 p.m. with a return at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. This loss of Sunday overnights can also be a big issue, from preventing a party doing certain things on Sunday due to having the exchange of the child or just having the normal meal and evening with the child on Sunday. It is important to look at your specific orders to see what applies in your case.
The other change in the Texas standard possession order is related to extended periods of possession. The person who has possession in accordance with a standard possession schedule should have already sent their election of their 30 day period of extended possession. This was due by April 1. If you did not send this notice out, the SPO provides that you receive the child from July 1 until July 30 as your extended summer period.
The parent who has primary possession then gets to make two elections. The first is due by April 15. By this date, the primary parent must elect a weekend during the extended summer period that the other parent elected for their 30 day period. Additionally, by this date or with at least two-weeks advanced notice, the parent who has primary possession can elect a regular scheduled 1st, 3rd or 5th weekend not during the elected extended summer period that they in essence take away the weekend from the other parent. This allows the primary parent to have an extended period of uninterrupted possession to go on a trip with the kids.
In a SPO, the extended summer periods must be completed one-week before school starts. The purpose is to allow the children to begin to get back into a routine before school starts and to have them ready for the first day of school.
The one weekend that is protected over the summer is Father’s Day weekend. The possession schedule will set out that the father gets Father’s Day weekend and this will supersede any weekend or summer periods.
Please remember that this applies to a Texas standard possession schedule and even within a standard possession schedule you may have slight variations. This is simply general advice. You should always look at and rely on your specific order. If you live in or near Austin, Texas and need the services of a Board Certified Family Law Attorney, please contact us.
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