Updated: Mar 18
***This article only applies to the standard possession order.
It's almost that time of year again! April 1st is the deadline for non-custodial parents to designate their thirty days of extended summer possession! If you designate days, then you get to pick the 30-days that you want. If you do not designate your visitation times by April 1st then your possession defaults to July 1 through July 31st . The possession begins and ends at 6:00 p.m. by default in Texas. If your order was done by the Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General you more than likely have a Standard Possession Order. Always check your order for exact dates and times for the exchange as sometimes they are modified.
The key phrase in the above paragraph is Extended Summer Possession. That is the thirty days that the non-custodial parent gets in the summer in addition to their standard weekends throughout the summer. (1st, 3rd, 5th weekends, AND Thursday's from 6 PM -8 PM).
The luxury of summer is that the non-custodial parent can pick whichever 30 days they want in the summer. They do not have to be consecutive. You can split your 30 days into two sets of 15 days! You do not have to default to the standard July 1 – July 31 dates, but you must give notice of your exact dates prior to April 1 pursuant to the rules for notification set out in your order.
** If the non-custodial parent and custodial parent live more than 100 miles away from each other then the non-custodial parent receives 42 days instead of 30.**
Custodial parent (parent with custody or CP):
For the custodial parent, you have certain times set out for you for summer visitation in Texas as well. If you give the visiting parent notice by April 15th you can designate one weekend inside their thirty day period of extended summer possession to have the child. It will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and you must do all the driving (i.e. pick up and drop off). If you did not designate this weekend by April 15th then you lose that weekend. Notice that this weekend is “inside” the extended summer possession of the non-custodial parent, meaning it is within the thirty days. If the non-custodial parent picks two non-consecutive 15 day periods, then you would pick a weekend inside one of those 15 day periods.
For example, if the visiting parent did not designate their thirty day summer possession by April 1st then we know they get the month of July. If the custodial parent gives notice between April 2 and April 15 of a weekend in July that they would like possession of the child, they get that weekend. If they do not give notice during that time frame (April 2 – April 15) they do not get any weekend during the thirty days extended summer visitation of the visiting parent.
Again, check your order for exact times for pick up and drop off as they may vary in your order. There are many variations to a standard possession order in Texas, so make sure to read and understand your order.
Draft of Notice of Summer Possession
Here is a copy of a Notice of Summer Visitation that you can use to send the custodial parent. It's important that you send the notice to the custodial parent via certified mail return receipt requested BEFORE April 1st. Make (2) copies and keep one for your records.