The Law Office of Judy Ritts
Visitation Rights

The Texas Family Code presumes that children should have regular and frequent contact with both parents. Parents are always encouraged to agree on sharing parenting time with their children. Sadly, many are not able to consistently agree.

Absent mutual agreement, a Standard Possession Order (SPO) is presumed to be in the best interest of any child age three or older. The parent having the right to determine the primary residence of the child is the custodial parent (CP). The SPO provides slightly different periods of possession for the non-custodial parent (NCP) depending on whether the NCP lives within or more than 100 miles of the child.

Weekends Ė On weekends throughout the year, beginning at 6 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday. Note that this refers to the first, third, and fifth Friday, not the first, third, and fifth weekend.

If the Friday before or the Monday after a weekend is a school or government holiday, the weekend period begins at 6pm on Thursday or ends at 6pm on Monday, as applicable.

If NCP lives more than 100 miles from the child, the NCP can choose to have the periods described above OR can choose one weekend per month with notice to CP.

Thursdays Ė During the regular school term between 6pm and 8pm only if NCP lives within 100 miles of the child.

Spring Break Ė If NCP lives within 100 miles, NCP has possession in odd-numbered years. If NCP lives more than 100 miles, NCP has possession in all years. Possession begins at 6pm on the last day of school before the break and ends at 6pm the day prior to school starting again.

Summer Ė For 30 days (if NCP lives within 100 miles) in no more than two periods of at least seven days each. If no notice by NCP to CP by April 1, then NCP gets July 1-30 that year. If NCP lives more than 100 miles from the child, NCP gets 42 days and June 15 to July 27 if no notice given CP. During NCPís time and with notice, CP can take one weekend (two non-consecutive weekends for NCPs more than 100 miles away) but must pick up and return the child wherever the child is (including Disney World). CP can also cancel one of NCPís weekends during summer but canít choose Fatherís Day (if NCP is the father) or a weekend during NCPís extended summer visit.

Christmas - Child with NCP in odd-numbered years beginning at 6pm the last day of school before Christmas break through noon on December 28. Child with NCP in even-numbered years beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6pm on the day before school resumes.

Thanksgiving - Child with NCP in even-numbered years from 6pm on the last day of school before the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6pm on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

Motherís/Fatherís Day - With the appropriate parent on that weekend from 6pm the Friday prior to 6pm on Motherís/Fatherís Day.

Childís Birthday Ė The parent who does not have possession of the child on the childís birthday gets the child (and their siblings) from 6pm to 8pm on that day.

Expanded SPO: A judge may allow the NCP to elect an expanded SPO. The expanded SPO is included at Section 153.317 of the Texas Family Code. The main distinction between a SPO and an expanded SPO is that the possession time begins when school is dismissed and ends when school resumes for the weekend and Thursday periods. For spring break, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fatherís/Motherís Day, the period of possession begins at the time the childís school is dismissed for the weekend or break and not at 6 p.m. of that day.

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  • Family Law
  • Divorce
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  • Child Custody Law
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  • Father's Rights

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