Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Turner Thornton
Summer is a time for children to enjoy their school break, spend time with friends and family, and create lasting memories. However, for parents who are divorced or separated, summer can bring a new set of challenges, especially when it comes to child visitation in Texas.
In this article, our Fort Worth family law attorneys discuss the standard summer visitation schedule in Texas, offer insights and tips for parents to navigate this process, and answer some frequently asked questions. Remember: the goal of summer vacation is to provide quality time for both parents while keeping the best interests of the child in mind.
How Do I Find Out When I Get the Kids for Summer Visitation in Texas?
To find out when you get the kids during the summer, the first thing you should do is turn to your child custody agreement. If there is nothing specific about summer visitation, you must then follow the Standard Possession Order (SPO), which you should have received at the conclusion of your family law matter.
The SPO is a guide that establishes visitation. The language can be found in Texas Family Code Sections 153.312 and 153.313. For your convenience, here’s a 2023 SPO calendar, which we recommend printing out so you can refer to it easily.
Note: This is for parents who live 50 miles or less apart.
What is Texas Standard Summer Visitation Schedule?
The Texas standard summer child visitation schedule allows the non-custodial parent to have extended visitation with their child during the summer months. According to the Texas Family Code, the standard summer visitation schedule is as follows for the non-custodial parent:
- Thirty days during the summer months, beginning on July 1st and ending on July 31st, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parents.
- If the non-custodial parent gives written notice to the custodial parent by April 1st, the non-custodial parent may choose to split the thirty days into two periods of at least seven consecutive days.
The standard summer visitation in Texas is in addition to the non-custodial parent’s regular first, third and fifth weekends of the month and Thursday visitation.
It is important to note that the standard summer child visitation schedule is just that – a standard. Parents are free to make their own agreements, as long as they do not interfere with the best interests of the child.
What is the April 1 Summer Visitation Deadline in Texas?
The non-custodial parent is given 30 consecutive days of possession of their children during the summer and has until April 1 to provide written notice of their chosen dates to the other parent. If the non-custodial parent fails to provide notice, the default period is July 1st through July 31st.
How Do I Notify the Other Parent if I Plan to Deviate from the Default Summer Schedule?
If you plan to deviate from the standard summer possession schedule, you must notify the other parent in writing by the April 1 deadline. This notice should include the dates and times when you plan to exercise your summer visitation rights, as well as any other relevant details (such as transportation arrangements or contact information). Be sure to keep a record of your communication. This can include copies of your written notice, any responses or agreements from the other parent, and any other relevant documents or correspondence.
If you and the other parent are not on good terms, you may want to consider using certified mail or a private process server to deliver the documents. This will provide you with proof of delivery in case there are any disputes or questions in the future.
What if We Don’t Have Orders and Can’t Agree on Summer Visitation in Texas?
If separated parents don’t have a court order and can’t come to an agreement about summer visitation, it’s important to contact a family law attorney. If it is problematic now, it likely will not get easier in the future. It’s best to contact an attorney so that you can get orders in place regarding possession.
What if Mother’s Day or Father’s Day Falls During My Summer Visitation?
The Texas Family Code takes these holidays into account so that the child spends adequate time with their mother or father on these special occasions. Here’s the schedule:
- Mother’s Day: If the non-custodial parent is the father, the mother is entitled to possession of the child from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday during Mother’s Day weekend. This takes precedence over the regular summer visitation schedule.
- Father’s Day: If the non-custodial parent is the mother, the father is entitled to possession of the child from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday during Father’s Day weekend. This takes precedence over the regular summer visitation schedule.
To avoid conflicts and ensure a smooth summer visitation schedule, both parents should communicate well in advance of these special occasions. This will allow them to make any necessary adjustments to the visitation schedule and ensure that both parents have the opportunity to celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day with their child.
Can We Agree to a Summer Visitation Schedule That’s Different Than Our Court Order?
Yes, parents can agree to a different schedule for summer visitation in Texas than what is contained in their court order. As long as both parents are on the same page, they can agree
Tips for Navigating the Summer Child Visitation Schedule
Navigating the summer child visitation schedule can be challenging for both parents and children. Here are some tips to help make the process easier:
Communication is key
It is important for parents to communicate effectively and respectfully with each other to ensure a smooth transition for their child. This includes discussing any changes or deviations from the standard schedule well in advance..
Life happens, and sometimes plans change. Being flexible and willing to compromise can go a long way in creating a positive experience for everyone involved.
Summer schedules can fill up quickly with vacations, camps, and other activities. Planning ahead and communicating any conflicts with the other parent can help avoid any last-minute surprises.
Keep the child’s best interests in mind
Ultimately, the goal of summer visitation is to allow the child to spend quality time with both parents. Keeping the child’s best interests in mind and putting their needs first can help create a positive experience for everyone involved.
Dispute Over Summer Visitation? Contact Us?
Understanding and navigating the standard summer child visitation schedule in Texas can be challenging for divorced or separated parents. If you need help resolving a conflict over summer visitation, child custody or any family law matter, it’s important to speak with an experienced child custody attorney.
Our team at Varghese Summersett Family Law Group will explain your options and help you protect your parental rights and possession to your children. We have vast experience handling high-conflict custody and visitation disagreements. Call 817-900-3220 to schedule a consultation with an experienced child visitation lawyer.
FAQS About Summer Visitation in Texas
The Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO) is the guideline for visitation arrangements in Texas. The SPO is an order issued by the judge that lays out the days and times that the noncustodial parent has the right to possess the child.
Extended summer visitation in Texas is a provision in the law that allows non-custodial parents to spend more time – typically 30 continuous days – with their children during the summer months.
Parents should begin preparing for summer possession in 2023 by reviewing and updating their parenting plan, coordinating schedules, planning vacations, and discussing any changes with the other parent. This will help ensure a smooth transition for the child during the summer months and minimize disruptions to their routine.
Yes, the summer possession schedule can be modified if circumstances change. There are two primary ways to modify the summer possession schedule:
Mutual Agreement: If both parents agree to modify the schedule, they can discuss the changes and make adjustments to the existing agreement. It’s advisable to put any agreed-upon modifications in writing to ensure both parents are clear on the new arrangements.
Court-Ordered Modification: If the parents cannot agree on modifications, one parent can petition the court for a modification of the visitation schedule. The parent requesting the modification must demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order was established, and the proposed changes are in the best interest of the child. The court will then review the case and make a decision based on the evidence presented.
For parents living more than 100 miles apart, the summer possession schedule in Texas may be adjusted to accommodate travel time and other logistical factors. This often involves modifying the visitation schedule to allow for longer visits or different visitation patterns, ensuring both parents have ample time to spend with their children.
Navigating summer possession in Texas can be complex, especially for parents who live far apart or have unique circumstances. At Varghese Summersett, our experienced family law attorneys are here to help you understand your rights and develop a comprehensive parenting plan that meets the needs of your family. Call us today at (817) 900-3220 or contact us online to discuss your summer possession case.