Blogs from May, 2024

child visitation agreement

When parents go through a divorce in Texas, one of the biggest issues to discuss is the visitation agreement. Unless there are extenuating circumstances like family violence or substance abuse issues, a Court will generally aim to ensure that children have frequent periods of possession with both parents. What is provided for by the Texas Family Code (153.312) is what is known as a Standard Possession Order. 

The Standard Possession Order is the baseline schedule that a Judge will use as a starting point when determining a possession and access schedule. While the possession can be modified based on each family's specific situation, the standard possession order outlines the minimum time that the non-primary parent is entitled to with the children. The beginning and end times can vary for the non-primary parent, for example, possession can begin at the time the child’s school is dismissed, school resumes, or at 6:00 P.M., or at another time the parties agree to. 

Under the standard order, the non-primary parent typically gets:

  • Every Thursday evening during the school year;
  • The 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend from Friday to Sunday; 
  • An extended period of possession in the summer, usually around 30 days; 
  • Alternating holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.; and
  • Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Spring Break, Child’s Birthday.

The purpose of a visitation agreement is to allow meaningful and continuous contact with both parents while providing a somewhat stable routine for the children during the year. It is important to note that parents can agree to a different visitation agreement, however, if there is no agreement, the schedule is meant to be followed. Some parents can struggle with the idea of having a Standard Possession Order in place if they have an agreement, however, it is generally best to include this visitation schedule should a disagreement occur in the future. Many families choose to deviate from this standard visitation agreement based on their work obligations, age of the child, living situations, distance between parents, school obligations, extracurricular activities, and other logistical factors.

If you are dealing with a child in a divorce, it is crucial to understand the standard possession order, or any other visitation agreement, and how it could impact your case. An attorney with the Simple Texas Divorce Program can help ensure your parenting schedule is truly in the best interest of your children based on your unique circumstances. If you are facing a divorce and are concerned about the visitation agreement for your child, please don't hesitate to reach out to our office for assistance.