Texas Parental Visitation – Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas – Part 1

Within the legal milieu of divorce and paternity cases, visitation rights and schedules typically fall under the purview of a document known as the Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO). The Court establishes this Order to provide clarity and structure to the visitation schedule, thus reducing potential stress for both parents.

Texas Parental Visitation - Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas - Part 1

When a marriage or partnership comes to an end and a divorce or separation occurs, one of the paramount concerns that invariably surfaces is the determination of visitation arrangements for both parents and their children. This issue assumes critical importance as it impacts the emotional health of all involved, particularly the children.

An Overview of the Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO)

The primary legal mechanism for regulating visitation rights in the state of Texas is encapsulated within The Family Code. The standard visitation Order, otherwise known as the Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO), forms the bedrock of this legislation. This Order is a comprehensive document that serves to detail various fundamental aspects related to visitation arrangements. Its purpose is to ensure that both parents are fully cognizant of their rights and responsibilities as regards their children’s visitation.

The SPO encompasses several key components that together establish the visitation structure:

Establishment of Visitation Start and End Times

One of the primary responsibilities of the SPO is to provide clear and unequivocal guidelines about the exact times when visitation periods are to begin and end. By explicitly specifying these timeframes, the SPO guarantees that consistency is maintained in the visitation schedule, thereby enabling parents to plan their own schedules with confidence.

Facilitating Pickups and Drop-offs

The SPO goes a step further in its efforts to promote smooth transitions by outlining the processes and procedures for picking up and dropping off the children between the parents. With the aim of reducing the chances of conflict and fostering a collaborative co-parenting environment, the SPO provides explicit instructions to guide this crucial aspect of visitation.

Designation of Holiday Visitation

Understanding the importance of holidays to the familial unit, the SPO takes this factor into account when determining visitation rights. The SPO specifies which parent will have custody of the children during particular holidays throughout the year. This arrangement ensures an equitable distribution of holidays between parents, allowing both parties to spend meaningful and quality time with their children during these cherished moments.

Regulation of Birthday Visitation

The SPO also recognizes the importance of birthdays in a child’s life and addresses the visitation schedule for each parent during their children’s birthdays. By offering clarity on how birthdays are to be shared and celebrated, the SPO seeks to alleviate confusion and reduce the likelihood of disputes.

In its quest to ensure the safety and well-being of the children, the SPO stipulates who, other than a parent, can pick up the children. By specifying these authorized individuals, the SPO offers further clarity on who can be part of the visitation process.

Flexibility: Customizing the Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO)

Texas Parental Visitation - Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas - Part 1

While the Texas Standard Possession Order is a detailed legal document, often extending over ten or more pages, it also allows for customization to cater to the unique circumstances and specific requests of the parents. Certain elections or provisions can be added to the SPO, tailoring it to the individual needs and preferences of each family. This flexibility helps maintain the best interests of the children while accommodating the parents’ preferences.

Weekend Visitation: The Significance of Quality Time

A common provision in the Texas Standard Possession Order is the granting of weekend visitation rights to the “Possessory Conservator” (the parent with the right to visitation). This arrangement typically dictates that the Possessory Conservator has visitation on the first, third, and fifth Fridays of each month, with each visitation period beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and concluding at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

In addition, the SPO provides an election option regarding weekend visitation. Rather than returning the child on Sunday at 6:00 p.m., the parent can choose to extend the visitation period and return the child to school on Monday following the weekend. This option increases the duration of quality time a parent can spend with their child and potentially reduces the amount of interaction between the parents, particularly useful if they have a contentious relationship.

It’s important to note that having visitation on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends of the month is distinct from having visitation every other weekend. Not every month includes a 5th weekend, and during months that do, the parent exercising standard possession will experience two consecutive weekends of visitation. The week following the 5th weekend becomes the 1st weekend of the next month, thus granting the parent an extended visitation period.

Weekday and Thursday Visitation: Consistency and Regular Contact

Texas Parental Visitation - Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas - Part 1

Beyond the domain of weekend visitation, the SPO also confers visitation rights during the regular school term to the Possessory Conservator. This includes the provision for visitation every Thursday, commencing at 6:00 p.m. and terminating at 8:00 p.m. on the same day. Regular weekday visitation offers an additional opportunity for the parent to maintain close contact with their child during the week.

The SPO provides an election regarding Thursday visitation as well. The Possessory Conservator can opt to start visitation when school ends on Thursday and continue until school begins on Friday. This election enables the Possessory Conservator to have at least one overnight stay per week. If combined with the weekend election, this could result in a more extended weekend period of possession, ensuring regular and meaningful interaction with their child.

It’s crucial to note that the Thursday periods of visitation are only applicable during the regular school term. In contrast, weekend periods of possession occur throughout the year, fostering a balanced visitation schedule for the parents and children.

Looking Ahead: An Insight into Holiday Possession

In our subsequent article, we will provide a deeper exploration of the concept of holiday possession under the Texas Standard Possession Order. Holidays hold significant emotional value for families, and understanding visitation arrangements during these times is crucial for effective co-parenting. We will examine the specific guidelines, considerations, and provisions outlined in the SPO with regards to holiday visitation. This information will be invaluable for parents in planning and navigating these significant occasions in their children’s lives.

By addressing visitation arrangements in a comprehensive manner, the Texas Standard Possession Order strives to provide structure, clarity, and fairness for both parents involved in a divorce or separation. It aims to uphold the best interests of the children while facilitating parents to maintain healthy relationships and active involvement in their children’s lives.


undefined If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Custody E-Book”

  1. How do I change my child’s name in Texas?
  2. 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
  3. I Want a Texas Divorce but My Husband Doesn’t: What can I do?
  4. Am I Married? – Marital Status in Texas
  5. 6 Tips – On How to prepare for a Texas Divorce
  6. Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
  7. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  8. 6 Mistakes that can Destroy Your Texas Divorce Case
  9. 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
  10. Reporting child abuse and neglect in Texas
  11. Drug and alcohol abuse: Texas parents face risks if they fail to become sober
  12. Who gets to keep the kids while the divorce is pending in Texas?
  13. If domestic violence is occurring in your home can your children be removed by Child Protective Services?
  14. Understanding Child Visitation and Standard Possession Orders in Texas: A Detailed Guide by the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
  15. The Harris County District Family Courts at a Glance: February 2023


Categories: Uncategorized

Share this article





Related Articles

Legal Remedies: How Texas Addresses Cyber Bullying and Ensures Online Safety

The Evolution of Legislation: Tracing the Development of Texas Cyber Bullying Laws

Navigating the Divorce Spectrum: Understanding Contested vs Uncontested Divorce

Understanding Your Texas Divorce Decree: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating Divorce in Texas: How to Legally Separate Without Your Spouse’s Signature

Everything You Need to Know About Common Law Marriage in Texas: A Complete Guide

Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Today!

At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri: 8 AM – 6 PM Saturday: By Appointment Only

"(Required)" indicates required fields