With the official start of summer having just passed us by it is an appropriate time to discuss the sometimes misunderstood topic of summertime visitation in Texas for divorced parents. As our kids complete the school year and begin to contemplate days full of swimming pools and staying up late, if their parents are divorced a not always fun dance is about to begin.
How their parents handle themselves can have a tremendous effect on if the kids’ summer is an enjoyable one or not. Let’s discuss how summer visitation works in Texas.
Standard Possession Order Summer Visitation
The main determining factor in the number of days a parent has with their child in the summer is the distance that they live from one another. For the parent with whom the child does not primarily reside, a weekday visit on Thursdays during the school year is something that they lose as compared to a parent that does live within 100 miles of their child.
The reason that parents that live over 100 miles from the child do not have a Thursday visitation period from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. is logistical- having that parent drive at least 200 miles round trip every Thursday is not reasonable. During the summers those Thursday visits cease.
For weekend visitation, the time on a Friday that the parent needs to pick up their child for the weekend may change from after school lets out on Friday to 6:00 p.m. on Friday.
This means that instead of being able to return your kids to school on Monday morning, the parent must return the child to their ex-spouse’s residence at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. The loss of an overnight visit every other week is something that is not particularly welcomed This is not always the case, so if you are a divorced parent you will need to consult your Final Decree of Divorce to verify how it works in your situation.
Extended periods of summer visitation under a Standard Possession Order
The other big change in the summer under a Standard Possession Order in Texas must do with extended periods of possession. If you are the parent with whom the child does not reside with primarily you know that by April 1st of each year it is your responsibility to communicate in writing your intention to take advantage of a 30-day period of extended summertime visitation.
If you fail to send in the requisite notice your Divorce Decree provides that your default period of possession of your child will be from July 1st to July 30th.
On the other hand, if you are the parent with whom the child resides with primarily you have two decisions to make associated with your own time with your child during the summer. By April 15th, you must choose a weekend during the other parent’s extended period of visitation.
Also, by this date or with at least two weeks’ notice you may also elect a regularly scheduled 1st, 3rd or 5th weekend not during the elected extended summer period that they take away the weekend from the other parent. In this way, the “primary” parent has an extended period of uninterrupted period of possession to go on a short vacation or other activity with the children.
When does the summertime visitation period stop?
Under a standard possession order the periods of visitation must be completed two Sundays prior to the beginning of the Fall semester of school. Children are creatures of habit, and in order to get them back into a routine the State legislature wants to allow them a week to get used to going to bed and waking up early.
A note on Father’s Day
Father’s Day is treated the same way as Mother’s Day, the only difference is that Father’s Day falls during the summer while Mother’s Day falls during the school year. Father’s Day weekend trumps any other weekend plans or selections of the mother. Dad will always get to see his child on Father’s Day weekend.
Providing Notice of Your Summer Visitation Intentions
As parents, you are relying on the other parent to provide notice during the April 1 to April 15 time period of when your ex-spouse intends to take advantage of their allotted summertime possession opportunities. It is important that this notice is timely received so both parents can prepare for how their time will be spent during a fairly significant chunk of time.
To provide proper notice each parent should review their Final Decree of Divorce to learn how their court orders read. If a parent must provide notice in writing, should it be done by email, text message or a co-parenting website like Our Family Wizard? Know well in advance what your decree requires and you can save yourself a lot of trouble. What sort of trouble, you may be asking? Read on to find out.
Consequences for failing to abide by your Divorce Decree
If you fail to follow the terms of your divorce decree you risk finding yourself back in court having to deal with an enforcement suit brought by your former spouse. An enforcement suit is a means by which your ex-spouse can seek the court’s assistance in having you abide by what your divorce decree orders you to do.
For example, if your ex-spouse notifies you in writing, with the correct amount of advance notice that they intend to see your child on a certain weekend during your 30-day period of extended visitation you need to make sure that your child sees their other parent. If you withhold the child or otherwise disrupt the weekend an enforcement can potentially be filed against you.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC is here to help with Summer Visitation Questions
If you have a question regarding the time you can see your child in the summer, or if your ex-spouse has not complied with your divorce decree regarding summer visitation do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our Houston divorce attorneys are ready and able to assist you and your family in addressing these issues directly.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- A Divorced Parent's Guide to Summer Visitation in Texas
- Summer Visitation Basics for a Divorced Parent in Texas
- How Does Summertime Visitation Work for Divorced Parents in Texas?
- How does summer visitation work?
- 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
- When Your Child's Extended Family Wants Visitation in Texas
- Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?
- Grandparent Visitation Rights in Texas?
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Texas Child Visitation Modification
- Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
- Texas Parental Visitation - Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas - Part 1
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.