Texas Standard Summer Possession Q&A

Texas Standard Summer Possession Q&A

Hi, Chris Schmiedeke from Divorce Simplified. Back in April, I posted a monthly review of the Texas standard possession order. That was an important month because of the notice requirements for the summer possession. And then in May I also posted another review of the month of May, and we learned a lot of valuable lessons, about a standard possession order in the month of May. Both of those, I will have pop-up up here, and you will be able to watch those I think over here or over here, I forget which one. But in those, I talked about how in the summer months I get overwhelmed with questions about the summer possession order in Texas. And so I think a lot of people really struggle with that. So I’m going to do a Q&A, and I will make this as quick as possible from questions that I receive from everyday people via my website. And I want to go into some of the answers because these are very common questions, and I want to go over them with everybody. So maybe it helps you because you have the same question.

So question number one, Caitlin says, “At what age is the child not required to spend a month in the summer with their other parent?” So the easy answer to that is, that the Texas standard possession order applies until a child turns 18, or graduates from high school although I don’t know that that’s actually true. I think the graduates from high school part is for child support, so I would say probably until the child turns 18. However, I don’t think that’s what Caitlin is asking. I think Caitlin’s asking really, when can the child determine if they want to visit or not visit? And there is no easy answer to that question. Each court’s going to have its own answer for that. To be safe, I would make sure that your child goes if they don’t want to go, you need to go back and modify your order and explain to the court why they do not want to go.

The next question is from Antonio. “Does the custodial parent have to pick two weekends inside the 30 days, or do I have them the entire month of July?” Okay. So the custodial parent does not have to pick any weekends inside the extended summer possession. What Antonio is saying there is, he probably did not designate any specific days for the summer, so it defaults until July 1st to July 31st, all right? The custodial parent doesn’t have to pick any weekends. They can choose not to exercise any weekends at all in the month of July if you go to those default dates. In fact, if they don’t provide you notice by April 15th of a weekend inside July, then they give that weekend up and you would get the entire month of July. But Antonio’s question says two weekends. There are not two weekends that you pick inside the extended summer possession. There’s one weekend the custodial parent can pick inside the extended summer possession, and there’s one weekend outside of the extended summer possession that the custodial parent can pick.

The next question is from Brianna. “I am trying to write my extended summer possession for my child. I do not know how to write it.” I think that is a question regarding the notice provisions. So if you’re writing your written notice for your extended summer possession, you’re going to pick the days that you want in the summer. You cannot pick any more than two separate periods of possession meaning you can’t say my 30 days is going to be 10 days, 10 days, and 10 days. That’s three periods of possession. You can’t do that. It has to be two or less. So you could do a 21-9, a 22-8, a 23-7. You cannot go any less than seven days so that’s going to be the bare minimum of what you can designate. So when you’re writing that, you’re going to pick the specific days you want, and you’re going to provide that to the other party as their notice.

The next question is from Cameron. “Is three week trip by a custodial parent during summer allowed?” I don’t know. I don’t know if it is or not. That depends on what weekends the custodial parent chooses, and how the extended summer possession is broken down. Remember, the custodial parent gets one weekend inside the extended summer possession, and they get one weekend outside of the extended summer possession. So theoretically, could they piece that together to get them three consecutive weeks to travel? I suppose that’s a possibility. I don’t think it’s likely, because we all know the non-custodial parent gets their weekends in the summer, right? So there’s always going to be a first, third, and fifth Friday of the month that you’re looking for in any given week in the summer. So I don’t know how they would be able to piece three weeks together in the summer.

Another question. If the non-custodial parent chooses two 15-day periods for summer, when should those start and stop? They start and stop whenever the non-custodial parent says they do. That would be in the written notice to you that they would begin on, say,  June 24th and go for 15 days and then the second period of possession would begin on July 15th and go for 15 consecutive days. That notice would be provided to you and then what you get, custodial parent, what you get from the non-custodial parents. So if they don’t designate days, then it’s just going to default to July 1st to July 31st. Remember that notice we learned in the April video, has to be given by April 1st.

Gabriel says, “Hello. My name is Gabriel, I’m from Texas and I would like to know if sending a text to my ex, dictating my extended summer possession is okay since I don’t have her address.” My first answer is to review your order to see what the notice requirements are that are in there. If it simply says written notice, then a text or an email or something like that is going to be written, correct? Because the opposite of written notice is oral notice. Like I’m telling you orally, these are my days. That’s not going to be sufficient, it has to be in writing. But I suggest that if you do it via text or email, you keep a copy of it and the date you sent it so that if there are any issues, you can prove that you sent the notice by April 1st, non-custodial parents, and custodial parents, you’re going to have the reverse because you have to designate that weekend inside the extended summer possession that one weekend, you have to designate that by April 15th. The weekend outside of the extended summer possession that the custodial parent gets, they can do it by April 15th, or they can do it with 14 days’ written notice.

Does extended summer possession mean that you would get the child 30 days, not including your normal weekends? So the 30-day extended summer possession is like a holiday possession, all right? And holiday possessions always overwrite weekend periods of possession. So when you’re in your extended summer possession let’s say you’re the non-custodial parent you did not give notice by April 1st, so you just default to July 1st to July 31st, you don’t look at the weekends in July. It’s irrelevant to the non-custodial parent because those 30 days override those weekends. So you just get July 1st to July 31st and then a non-custodial parent can pick one weekend inside those dates to get one of their weekends. All right? But once you get outside of that extended summer possession, the weekends start back up, first, third and fifth Fridays of the month. Those go throughout the summer.

Does the 30-day extended summer possession for the non-custodial parent have to be broken into two 15-day periods, or can it be five days on the second week, five days on the third, et cetera, et cetera? I answered that a few questions ago but the answer is no, it cannot. It has to be no more than two periods of possession, and they can’t be consecutive. So again, they have to be seven days long is the minimum, and you can’t have more than two. All right? So the most you would be able to do would be a 23-7, 22-8, 21-9, 20-10. Something like that. Only two. You can’t break them up into small little chunks. Only two or less.

My daughter’s father wants to extend summer vacation. Do I get to choose two weekends to have my daughter with me? Yes. So the non-custodial parent wants to exercise their extended summer possession, let’s say they don’t give you notice, their days are July 1st to July 31st. Custodial parent, you’re going to get one weekend inside the extended summer of the non-custodial parents. So one weekend in July under that scenario, and you get one weekend that would otherwise have been a first, third or fifth weekend outside of the extended summer. So under my scenario where the non-custodial parent gets July, you would get theoretically a weekend in June, or a weekend in August that you would steal, from the non-custodial parent. So those would be your two weekends.

Dennis says, “If I give my ex notice, she can pick a weekend out of those 30 days I pick. Do I get that weekend back?” No, you do not. So the weekend that they get to steal outside of your 30 days is theirs to keep. You do not get make-up days. So once your 30 days for summer are over, you just roll back into the first, third and fifth Fridays of the month for the remainder of the summer, and then obviously into the school year.

The ex wants our daughter from Friday, June 11th to June the 28th, can I request that first weekend as my weekend? Is he allowed to tell me no? So if you’re choosing a weekend inside the extended summer possession that you’ve been given notice of, custodial parent, all you have to do is provide them notice by April 15th. If you do that, they cannot tell you no, that is your weekend, all right? Now if you are denied that weekend because the non-custodial parent doesn’t provide the child to you, then you may have to go to court and enforce your order, but they cannot tell you no.

If a non-custodial parent requests their summer visitation to the custodial parent before April 1st, can the custodial parent not approve that time? Same thing. If you give your notice by April 1st of the dates that is your 30-day summer possession, the custodial parent cannot tell you no. You get those days, provided you have done them correctly, no more than two periods and that can’t be consecutive. So if you did 20 days on one period and 10 days on the second and you give the notice by April 1st, the custodial parent cannot tell you no, you get those days. If those days aren’t provided to you, you may want to file for enforcement of the order, but the custodial parent cannot tell you no, on the days you pick.

Good evening, I have a question about summer visitation. I’m a non-custodial parent and want to pick two segments of my 30-day visitation. If I started my first segment of visitation to be no less than seven consecutive days to include father’s day weekend, does that weekend count towards my seven days of visitation? So remember the holidays you’re going to overwrite. If you choose to pick your extended summer possession over the top of father’s day, then father’s day is basically erased. So, because you’re getting those days. You do not get to make up and just come back later and say, oh, I didn’t get my father’s day. I want another weekend down the line in the summer, because I missed my father’s day. If you choose to overwrite or go take your extended summer possession over father’s day, then you’ve essentially given up your father’s day.

In Texas, what time does the non-custodial parent have to give their summer visitation? I know it’s April 1st, but do we have to wait until midnight? Is there a time? So this is a good question. Read your order. Does the order say it has to be at six, or any specific time? Because if it does not, then it does not have to be at six. What’s written in the order is important but what’s NOT written in the order, is also very important. So, understand your order. It does not require notice by 6:00 pm or it would say notice by 6:00 pm. So if you get notice on March 31st at 11:59 pm, that is before April 1st, right? Because it was given to you on March the 31st.

Does the custodial parent have to choose a weekend that is not the first, third, and fifth weekend of the month during the non-custodial parent’s 30-day possession for summer? So again, the 30-day summer possession overwrites weekend possessions. There are no weekend possessions in those 30 days, so the custodial parent can pick any one weekend, read the language of the order. The custodial parent can pick any one weekend, inside the extended summer possession, that they want to exercise that time, right? They just have to give you notice by April 15th. That’s it. Any weekend.

We did not get the 30-day plan for summer visits. What do we do now? Well, if you don’t get notice of the 30-day extended summer visitation, then it defaults to July 1st to July 31st. You’re not going to get any more notice, that’s it. It just is. So if I’m the non-custodial parent and I want July, then I’m not going to bother sending the notice, I just know I’m going to get July 1st to July 31st. That is the default time.

I need some clarification. For my possession during the month of July, the custodial parent can choose a weekend within that month? Correct. They can choose one weekend inside the month of your extended summer possession so July in this scenario, and they can pick one of your first, third, and fifth weekends that are outside of your extended summer possession because we know that the weekend possessions, go all year round. The first, third and fifth go all year round.

I have a question. I didn’t receive the notice from the non-custodial parent, and I need to give my notice to him for my summer weekend possession. How can I know if by choosing the weekend of July 2nd and the weekend of August 6, I’m not violating the court order? We have the standard and I didn’t get a notice from my ex-husband. He will keep my son for the whole month of July. Yes, he will keep the child for the entire month of July because he didn’t give notice. So it defaults to July 1st to July 31st. And then if you give notice for the weekend of July 2nd, is that inside the extended summer possession? It is. So that would be your weekend inside the extended summer possession. And then you have August 6th, which is I assume, is going to be a Friday, and that is outside the extended summer possession of July 1st to July 31st. So that would be the one weekend outside of the extended summer possession.

During a standard possession order, does the non-custodial parent still get the first, third, and fifth weekends during the custodial parents 30 days of summer? Okay. So this is another very confusing question. The custodial parent does not get 30 days in the summer. The non-custodial parent gets 30 days in the summer, not the custodial parents. So the question already doesn’t make sense, because they’re saying… they’re asking if the non-custodial parent gets the first, third, and fifth weekends. The non-custodial parent gets the first, third, and fifth weekends all year round. The only time the non-custodial parent does not get the weekends is when a holiday overwrites them. So summer, July 1st to July 31st for the non-custodial parent overwrites the weekends. The weekends are irrelevant because the non-custodial gets the entire month.

During the non-custodial parent’s extended summer visitation, do they pay child support during the 30-day period? Yes. Child support goes all year round. Look at your child support order. Does it say that child support stops during the summer? It does not. If you have a standard possession order and a normal child support order, it is not going to say that. So again, what is in your written order is important but what is not written, is also important. So a person’s going to pay child support all year round in almost every order unless there’s a specific, custom, provision in there that stops it, they’re going to pay child support all year round.

I have a question about the extended summer possession. When he does his 30 days in the summer do we go right back to his first, third and fifth weekend, or is the rest of the summer mine? No, the rest of the summer is not yours. The first, third, and fifth weekends start right back up at the end of the extended summer possession, and they go leading into the extended summer possession as well. So you can go to any calendar, and look and find the first, third, and fifth Fridays, all right? Those continue all year round unless a holiday overwrites them.

If I’m the custodial parent for summer visitation, is it required that I give the father every Thursday and every other weekend during my summer possession? You see, I told you I get these same questions over and over and over again. And the answer to that question is, Thursdays, if you looked at your order, what do they say? They will say Thursdays during the school term. Is summer during the school term? It is not. So they do not continue. Do Thursdays continue over the Christmas holidays? Holidays overwrite weekends. Holidays overwrite weekdays. So they do not continue during the Christmas holiday, but they’re going to pick right back up when the holidays are over. So Thursdays do not go through the summer, because they are only during the school term. Yes, weekends go through the summer.

So again, I know that was a little bit monotonous but these are actual questions that I get from people every day contacting our office, and they are extremely confused by the summer possession schedule. So hopefully this clears things up a little bit. If not, contact us and maybe I’ll make another video and another list of new questions that people are asking me for the summer visitation in Texas. Talk to you soon.