Visitation

(Sample Standard Possession Order)

An area of great concern with regard to a couple with children getting a divorce is visitation with the children. Specifically, what are the terms and conditions of that visitation? In Texas, unless otherwise agreed to by the parents, the Courts default to something called the Standard Possession Order. The Standard Possession Order is laid out in the family code and specifically defines the terms and conditions for visitation. Below, you will find a Sample Standard Possession order which is generally included in most Final Decrees.

Sample Standard Possession Order
Possession and Access

  1. Standard Possession Order
    The Court finds that the following provisions of this Standard Possession Order are intended to and do comply with the requirements of Texas Family Code Sections 153.311 through 153.317. IT IS ORDERED that each conservator shall comply with all terms and conditions of this Standard Possession Order. IT IS ORDERED that this Standard Possession Order is effective immediately and applies to all periods of possession occurring on and after the date the Court signs this Standard Possession Order. IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED:

    • (a) Definitions
      1. In this Standard Possession Order “school” means the primary or secondary school in which the child is enrolled or, if the child is not enrolled in a primary or secondary school, the public school district in which the child primarily resides.
      2. In this Standard Possession Order “child” includes each child, whether one or more, who is a subject of this suit while that child is under the age of eighteen years and not otherwise emancipated.
    • (b) Mutual Agreement or Specified Terms for Possession
      IT IS ORDERED that the conservators shall have possession of the child at times mutually agreed to in advance by the parties, and, in the absence of mutual agreement, it is ORDERED that the conservators shall have possession of the child under the specified terms set out in this Standard Possession Order.
    • (c) Parents Who Reside 100 Miles or Less Apart
      Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, when RESPONDENT resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, RESPONDENT shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

      1. Weekends – On weekends, beginning at 6:00 p.m., on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday.
      2. Weekend Possession Extended by a Holiday – Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, if a weekend period of possession by RESPONDENT begins on a Friday that is a school holiday during the regular school term or a federal, state, or local holiday during the summer months when school is not in session, or if the period ends on or is immediately followed by a Monday that is such a holiday, that weekend period of possession shall begin at 6:00 p.m. on the Thursday immediately preceding the Friday holiday or school holiday or end at 6:00 p.m. on that Monday holiday or school holiday, as applicable.
      3. Thursdays – On Thursday of each week during the regular school term, beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m.
      4. Spring Break in Even-Numbered Years – In even-numbered years, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.
      5. Extended Summer Possession by RESPONDENT
        With Written Notice by April 1 – If RESPONDENT gives PETITIONER written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, RESPONDENT shall have possession of the child for thirty days 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 in that year, to be exercised in no more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, as specified in the written notice, provided that the period or periods of extended summer possession do not interfere with Father’s Day Weekend. These periods of possession shall begin and end at 6:00 p.m.

        Without Written Notice by April 1 – If RESPONDENT does not give PETITIONER written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, RESPONDENT shall have possession of the child for thirty consecutive days in that year beginning at 6:00 p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on July 31.

        Notwithstanding the weekend and Thursday periods of possession ORDERED for RESPONDENT , it is explicitly ORDERED that PETITIONER shall have a superior right of possession of the child as follows:

        1. Spring Break in Odd-Numbered Years – In odd-numbered years, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.
        2. Summer Weekend Possession by PETITIONER – If PETITIONER gives RESPONDENT written notice by April 15 of a year, PETITIONER shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday during any one period of the extended summer possession by RESPONDENT in that year, provided that PETITIONER picks up the child from RESPONDENT and returns the child to that same place.
        3. Extended Summer Possession by PETITIONER – If PETITIONER gives RESPONDENT written notice by April 15 of a year or gives RESPONDENT fourteen days’ written notice on or after April 16 of a year, PETITIONER may designate one weekend 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, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by RESPONDENT shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with RESPONDENT ‘s period or periods of extended summer possession.
    • (d) Parents Who Reside More Than 100 Miles Apart
      Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, when RESPONDENT resides more than 100 miles from the residence of the child, RESPONDENT shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

      1. Weekends – Unless RESPONDENT elects the alternative period of weekend possession described in the next paragraph, RESPONDENT shall have the right to possession of the child on weekends, beginning at 6:00 p.m., on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday. Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, if such a weekend period of possession by RESPONDENT begins on a Friday that is a school holiday during the regular school term or a federal, state, or local holiday during the summer months when school is not in session, or if the period ends on or is immediately followed by a Monday that is such a holiday, that weekend period of possession shall begin at 6:00 p.m. on the Thursday immediately preceding the Friday holiday or school holiday or end at 6:00 p.m. on that Monday holiday or school holiday, as applicable.

        Alternate Weekend Possession – In lieu of the weekend possession described in the foregoing paragraph, RESPONDENT shall have the right to possession of the child not more than one weekend per month of RESPONDENT ‘s choice beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day school recesses for the weekend and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after the weekend. Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, if such a weekend period of possession by RESPONDENT begins on a Friday that is a school holiday during the regular school term or a federal, state, or local holiday during the summer months when school is not in session, or if the period ends on or is immediately followed by a Monday that is such a holiday, that weekend period of possession shall begin at 6:00 p.m. on the Thursday immediately preceding the Friday holiday or school holiday or end at 6:00 p.m. on that Monday holiday or school holiday, as applicable. RESPONDENT may elect an option for this alternative period of weekend possession by giving written notice to PETITIONER within ninety days after the parties begin to reside more than 100 miles apart. If RESPONDENT makes this election, RESPONDENT shall give PETITIONER fourteen days’ written or telephonic notice preceding a designated weekend. The weekends chosen shall not conflict with the provisions regarding Christmas, Thanksgiving, the child’s birthday, and Father’s Day Weekend below.

      2. Spring Break in All Years – Every year, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.
      3. Extended Summer Possession by RESPONDENT
        With Written Notice by April 1 – If RESPONDENT gives PETITIONER written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, RESPONDENT shall have possession of the child for forty-two days 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 in that year, to be exercised in no more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, as specified in the written notice, provided that the period or periods of extended summer possession do not interfere with Father’s Day Weekend. These periods of possession shall begin and end at 6:00 p.m.

        Without Written Notice by April 1 – If RESPONDENT does not give PETITIONER written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, RESPONDENT shall have possession of the child for forty-two consecutive days beginning at 6:00 p.m. on June 15 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on July 27 of that year.

        Notwithstanding the weekend periods of possession ORDERED for RESPONDENT , it is explicitly ORDERED that PETITIONER shall have a superior right of possession of the child as follows:

        1. Summer Weekend Possession by PETITIONER – If PETITIONER gives RESPONDENT written notice by April 15 of a year, PETITIONER shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday during any one period of possession by RESPONDENT during RESPONDENT ‘s extended summer possession in that year, provided that if a period of possession by RESPONDENT in that year exceeds thirty days, PETITIONER may have possession of the child under the terms of this provision on any two nonconsecutive weekends during that period and provided that PETITIONER picks up the child from RESPONDENT and returns the child to that same place.
        2. Extended Summer Possession by PETITIONER – If PETITIONER gives RESPONDENT written notice by April 15 of a year, PETITIONER may designate twenty-one days 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 in that year, to be exercised in no more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, during which RESPONDENT shall not have possession of the child, provided that the period or periods so designated do not interfere with RESPONDENT ‘s period or periods of extended summer possession.
    • (e) Holidays Unaffected by Distance
      Notwithstanding the weekend and Thursday periods of possession of RESPONDENT , PETITIONER and RESPONDENT shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

      1. Christmas Holidays in Even-Numbered Years – In even-numbered years, RESPONDENT shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 26, and PETITIONER shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at noon on December 26 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that Christmas school vacation.
      2. Christmas Holidays in Odd-Numbered Years – In odd-numbered years, PETITIONER shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 26, and RESPONDENT shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at noon on December 26 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that Christmas school vacation.
      3. Thanksgiving in Odd-Numbered Years – In odd-numbered years, RESPONDENT shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.
      4. Thanksgiving in Even-Numbered Years – In even-numbered years, PETITIONER shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.
      5. Child’s Birthday – If a parent is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child on the child’s birthday, that parent shall have possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m. on that day, provided that that parent picks up the child from the other parent’s residence and returns the child to that same place.
      6. Father’s Day Weekend – PETITIONER shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Father’s Day, provided that if PETITIONER is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, he shall pick up the child from RESPONDENT ‘s residence and return the child to that same place.
      7. Mother’s Day Weekend – RESPONDENT shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Mother’s Day, provided that if RESPONDENT is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, she shall pick up the child from PETITIONER’s residence and return the child to that same place.
    • (f) Undesignated Periods of Possession
      PETITIONER shall have the right of possession of the child at all other times not specifically designated in this Standard Possession Order for RESPONDENT .
    • (g) General Terms and Conditions
      Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, the terms and conditions of possession of the child that apply regardless of the distance between the residence of a parent and the child are as follows:

      1. Surrender of Child by PETITIONER – PETITIONER is ORDERED to surrender the child to RESPONDENT at the beginning of each period of RESPONDENT ‘s possession at the residence of PETITIONER.
      2. Return of Child by RESPONDENT – RESPONDENT is ORDERED to return the child to the residence of PETITIONER at the end of each period of possession. However, it is ORDERED that, if PETITIONER and RESPONDENT live in the same county at the time of rendition of this order, RESPONDENT ‘s county of residence remains the same after rendition of this order, and PETITIONER’s county of residence changes, effective on the date of the change of residence by PETITIONER, RESPONDENT shall surrender the child to PETITIONER at the residence of RESPONDENT at the end of each period of possession.
      3. Surrender of Child by RESPONDENT – RESPONDENT is ORDERED to surrender the child to PETITIONER, if the child is in RESPONDENT ‘s possession or subject to RESPONDENT ‘s control, at the beginning of each period of PETITIONER’s exclusive periods of possession, at the place designated in this Standard Possession Order.
      4. Return of Child by PETITIONER – PETITIONER is ORDERED to return the child to RESPONDENT , if RESPONDENT is entitled to possession of the child, at the end of each of PETITIONER’s exclusive periods of possession, at the place designated in this Standard Possession Order.
      5. Personal Effects – Each conservator is ORDERED to return with the child the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession.
      6. Designation of Competent Adult – Each conservator may designate any competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable. IT IS ORDERED that a conservator or a designated competent adult be present when the child is picked up or returned.
      7. Inability to Exercise Possession – Each conservator is ORDERED to give notice to the person in possession of the child on each occasion that the conservator will be unable to exercise that conservator’s right of possession for any specified period.
      8. Written Notice – Written notice shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or postmarked before or at the time that notice is due.

    This concludes the Standard Possession Order.

  2. Duration
    The periods of possession ordered above apply to the child the subject of this suit while that child is under the age of eighteen years and not otherwise emancipated.

If you are in the process of getting a divorce or have already been served with divorce papers, you need the help of a competent and aggressive Conroe divorce attorney or a Spring Divorce Lawyer. Contact the Montgomery County, Texas Divorce attorneys at Garg & Associates today to schedule a consultation.

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