A Divorced Parent's Guide to Summer Visitation in Texas

A Divorced Parent’s Guide to Summer Visitation in Texas

If you’re a parent who just got a divorce finalized at the end of this school year you’ve probably been acclimating yourself to a different schedule than you’ve become accustomed to as far as summertime with your child. Whether you are the parent with whom your child resides with primarily or you’re the parent who has visitation throughout the year life as a divorced parent is different than life as you knew it.

Some divorce decrees have detailed visitation guidelines when it comes to the summer. Others follow the Standard Possession Order (SPO) based on the Texas Family Code. Either way it can be difficult to remember, understand and plan for a summer when you’re not exactly clear on when you are supposed to have your child and for how long.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to walk with you through some of the essential pieces of information necessary to take advantage of and enjoy the time you are allotted during the summer with your child. Part of that enjoyment is not upsetting the balance that you must now share with your ex-spouse in terms of dividing the summer up between both of you.

Texas Standard Possession Order

Most divorced families follow pretty closely the Texas Standard Possession Order. Within this Order there are certain notice requirements that must be followed in order to take full advantage of the time you are allowed to be in possession of your child. To begin with the “non primary” parent has the choice to choose a thirty day period during the summer to be theirs continuously if they provide written notice to the primary parent by April 1st. It is allowable to break up the thirty days into two parts.

If you have a divorce decree, you can look the section detailing summer visitation and see what date you are required to provide notice if you are the non primary parent. The majority of divorce decrees in Texas will utilize April 1st as the deadline. If you do not provide written notice of your intention to take advantage of the thirty days then by default you are provided possession of your child for the month of July.

April 15th is also a key date for divorced parents to put in their calendars each year. This is the date that the primary parent must provide written notice to the non primary parent regarding their intention to take advantage of one weekend during the non primary parent’s thirty day period of possession. The reason why the primary parent is given this ability is that thirty days is a long time for a child to be away from one of their parents. This way, theoretically, the primary parent wouldn’t have to go any longer than two weeks without seeing their child.

Extended Summer Possession for a Primary Parent

If you are the parent with whom the child lives primarily during the school year do not worry that you will not be able to have an opportunity to take a vacation with your child. The key to know when this period of possession is likely to fall is if the non primary parent provides the written notice by April 1st designating their chosen period of possession. If he or she does not provide notice by this date and is defaulted into possession of the child in July, it is likely that the primary parent’s period of possession would take place during the first couple weeks in either June or August. This is because the primary parent has the ability to choose one weekend that falls outside of the non primary parent’s period of possession to have the child.

What about Father’s Day?

Father’s Day Weekend, almost without exception, goes to the father after a divorce. As alluded to earlier in this blog post this Weekend comes in addition to the time a father is allotted under a Standard Possession Order, regardless if he is the primary or non primary parent of the child. It is considered a holiday which takes precedence over other periods of possession as a result.

What if my ex spouse denies me possession of my child during the summer?

If you have thoroughly reviewed your divorce decree, provided the requisite notice to your ex spouse stating the periods of possession you have chosen to take advantage of and are still denied the ability to see your child when the time comes you have the option to pursue an enforcement case against your former spouse. An enforcement is a remedy available to parents if the other parent violates a provision in an order. While it is understandable to an extent if a person misapplies or misunderstands a portion of a divorce decree, it is not an excuse to violate an order.

If this scenario fits your life, you should consider hiring an attorney to file the enforcement for you. The reason being is that an enforcement is a very specific kind of legal suit that has certain requirements that must be met in your court documents. If the documents fail to state a violation in a particular way, or is too aggressive in its request for relief then your suit can be denied by a judge. Penalties for violating a court’s order includeattorney’s fees, court costs and the possibility of jail time.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan- Client Oriented, Results Driven Family Law Attorneys

If you have any additional questions about how summertime visitation works after a divorce is finalized, or if you have missed time with your child this past summer because the other parent violated the court’s order, please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our attorneys and staff understand the issues that you are facing and will work tirelessly to ensure that our resources and knowledge are utilized in the best manner possible to benefit you and your family. A consultation with our office is always free of charge and our attorneys are available to meet with you six days per week


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Spring Divorce Attorney
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