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Faq & More >> Articles >> Articles about Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship >> How Summer Possession Works
How Summer Possession Works
May 24, 2016

Paper cut out of a family standing on yellow block letters that spell child custodyThe Texas Family Code has a standard possession and visitation order that is presumed by law to be in the best interests of children. However, how summer possession of a child works under the standard possession order can at times be confusing. This article explains in simple terms how summer possession of a child works.

For the purpose of this article, we're assuming both parents have been appointed as the conservators of the child, and, when we use the term "non-custodial parent," we mean the parent with whom the child does not live. It's also important to understand what "summer" means. If the child is in school, then "summer" is when the child is off from school for summer vacation. If your child isn't in school, then "summer" is when the school district your child lives in has summer break. Finally, it makes a difference how far apart the non-custodial parent and the child live. So, we will go over how summer possession works when the non-custodial parent and child live more and less than 100 miles apart.

During the school year in the standard possession order, the non-custodial parent generally has the child on the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of every month and on Thursdays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The major holidays during the school year are also split up between the parents. For a more detailed explanation of the standard possession order during the school year, check out our FAQs. In the summer, the possession and visitation schedule works differently. The first big difference during summer is there is no Thursday possession for the non-custodial parent. However, the non-custodial parent still has weekend possessions subject to the rules about extended summer possession, which we will review below.

Let's first look at how the extended summer possession rules work when the non-custodial parent and the child live 100 miles or less apart. In these situations, the non-custodial parent can pick 30 days in the summer to have possession of the child. These 30 days can be all in a row or they can be split up into no more than 2 blocks of possession, with each block being no less than 7 days long. These 30 days have to happen anytime from the day after summer vacation starts to 7 days before summer vacation ends. The non-custodial parent has to pick these 30 days and let the other parent know by April 1 of that year. If the non-custodial parent doesn't pick the 30 days and let the other parent know by April 1, then the non-custodial parent has the child for extended summer possession from July 1 to July 31 of that year by default.

When the non-custodial parent and the child live 100 miles or less apart, then the custodial parent also gets their version of extended summer possession. First, if the custodial parent notifies the non-custodial parent by April 15, then the custodial parent can take one weekend during the non-custodial parent's 30 days. However, if the custodial parent doesn't give notice by April 15, then the custodial parent loses this right to possession. Second, with at least 2 weeks' notice, the custodial parent can take one weekend that the non-custodial parent would otherwise have had during the summer as long as the weekend isn't during the non-custodial parent's 30 days or, if the non-custodial parent is the dad, during father's day weekend. So basically, in the above situation, the custodial parent can cherry pick one weekend inside the non-custodial parent's 30 days and one weekend outside the non-custodial parent's 30 days.

Let's now look at how the extended summer possession rules work when the non-custodial parent and the child live more than 100 miles apart. In these situations, the non-custodial parent can pick 42 days in the summer to have possession of the child. These 42 days can be all in a row or they can be split up into at most 2 blocks of possession, with each block being no less than 7 days long. These 42 days have to happen anytime from the day after summer vacation starts to 7 days before summer vacation ends. The non-custodial parent has to pick these 42 days and let the other parent know by April 1 of that year. If the non-custodial parent doesn't pick the 42 days and let the other parent know by April 1, then the non-custodial parent gets the child for summer extended possession from June 15 to July 27 of that year by default.

When the non-custodial parent and the child live 100 miles or less apart, then the custodial parent also gets extended summer possession rights. First, if the custodial parent notifies the non-custodial parent by April 15, then the custodial parent can take one weekend during the non-custodial parent's 42 days. If the non-custodial parent has a block of time that is over 30 days, then, during that block of 30 days, the non-custodial parent can take two non-consecutive weekends. Again, notice by April 15 is required. If the custodial parent doesn't give notice by April 15, then the custodial parent loses these rights to extended possession. Second, if the custodial parent provides notice by April 15, the custodial parent can take 21 days that the non-custodial parent would otherwise have had during the summer as long as the 21 days aren't during the non-custodial parent's 42 days or, if the non-custodial parent is the dad, during father's day weekend. These 21 days can be split into at most two blocks, with each block being no less than 7 days long. Again, if the custodial parent doesn't give notice by April 15, then the custodial parent loses this right to extended possession.

If you need to establish, modify or enforce visitation, contact Sugar Land child custody attorney Chikeersha Puvvada at 281-313-5300 or online today to schedule a consultation.

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