Jump to Navigation

Texas Standard Possession Order

STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER adapted from

TEXAS FAMILY CODE, SECTIONS 153.311 THROUGH 153.317

NOTE: 2011 changes were made dealing with children under 3, and are contained in Section 153.254 that, in essense, sgguest that the Court ( and the parents) use common sense in setting up possession schedules for itty-bittys, recognizing that in general more frequent contact is vital for parent child bonding.

Policy. It is the policy of this state to encourage frequent contact between a child and each parent for periods of possession that optimize the development of a close and continuing relationship between each parent and child. It is preferable for all children in a family to be together during periods of possession.

School. The term school means the primary or secondary school in which the child is enrolled, or if the child is not enrolled in a primary or secondary school, the public school district in which the child primarily resides.

Child. The term child shall refer to the child or children of the parties and shall include the plural form wherever appropriate to the context.

Standard Possession Order

IT IS ORDERED AND DECREED that the parties shall have possession of the child at any and all times mutually agreed to in advance by the parties and, in the absence of mutual agreement, shall have possession of the child under the specified terms set out in this Standard Possession Order.

A. PARENTS WHO RESIDE 100 MILES OR LESS APART

(a) If the possessory conservator resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

(1) Weekends. On weekends beginning: (CHOOSE ONE)

______ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the first, third and fifth Friday of each month;

______ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed on the first, third and fifth Friday of each month;

________ If the child is enrolled in school, at_______ o'clock____.m. (specify time elected between the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and 6:00 o'clock p.m.) on the first, third and fifth Friday of each month;

and ending: (CHOOSE ONE)

______ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the following Sunday.

______ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school resumes after the weekend.

(2) Weekend Possession Extended By Holiday. If a weekend period of possession of the possessory conservator coincides with a school holiday during the regular school term, or with a federal, state or local holiday during the summer months in which school is not in session, the weekend possession shall begin: (CHECK ONE)

_______ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. Thursday for a Friday holiday or school holiday;

_______ At the time the child's school is regularly dismissed for a Friday holiday or school holiday;

_______ If the child is enrolled in school, at_______ o'clock____.m. (specify time elected between the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and 6:00 o'clock p.m.) on the day that the child's school is regularly dismissed for a Friday holiday or school holiday;

and ending: (CHECK ONE)

_______ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on a Monday holiday or school holiday

_______ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school resumes after a Monday holiday or school holiday.

(3) Thursdays. On Thursdays of each week during the regular school term:

(CHECK ONE)

________ Beginning at 6:00 o'clock p.m. and ending at 8:00 o'clock p.m.;

________ At the time the child's school is regularly dismissed; and ending at the time the child's school resumes on Friday morning,

(unless the court finds that such is not in the child's best interest)

(b) The following provisions govern possession of the child for vacations and certain holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

(1) Spring Vacation. The possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning: (CHOOSE ONE)

________ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation;

_________ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed for the school's spring vacation;

________ If the child is enrolled in school, at _______ o'clock _____.m. (specify time elected between the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and 6:00 o'clock p.m.) on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation;

and ending: (CHOOSE ONE)

________ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.

________ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school resumes after that vacation.

The managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years.

(2) Summer.

(A) If the possessory conservator gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for thirty (30) days beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven (7) days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two (2) separate periods of at least seven (7) consecutive days each, and which periods start and end at 6 p.m. on each applicable day.

(B) If the possessory conservator does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for thirty (30) consecutive days beginning at 6:00 o'clock p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6:00 o'clock p.m. on July 31.

(C) If the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by June 1 of each year, the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning Friday at 6:00 o'clock p.m. and ending at 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the following Sunday during any one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivisions (b)(1) or (b)(2), provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place.

(D) If the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year or gives the possessory conservator 14 days' written notice on or after April 16 of each year, the managing conservator may designate one weekend beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven (7) days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by the possessory conservator will not take place, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with the possessory conservator's period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father's Day weekend if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.

B. PARENTS WHO RESIDE OVER 100 MILES APART

If the possessory conservator resides more than 100 miles from the residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

Weekends. On weekends beginning: (CHOOSE ONE)

______ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month;

______ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed on the first, third and fifth Friday of each month;

______ If the child is enrolled in school, at _______ o'clock____.m. (specify time elected between the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and 6:00 o'clock p.m.) on the first, third and fifth Friday of each month;

and ending: (CHOOSE ONE)

_____ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the following Sunday.

______ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school resumes after the weekend.

(b) Alternative Weekend Possession. In lieu of the foregoing, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child not more than one weekend per month of the possessory conservator's choice beginning: (CHECK ONE)

_______ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day school recesses for the weekend;

_______ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed for the weekend;

_______ If the child is enrolled in school, at _______ o'clock _____.m. (specify time elected between the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and 6:00 o'clock p.m.) on the day school recesses for the weekend; and ending: (CHECK ONE)

_______ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day before school resumes after the weekend.

________ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school resumes after the weekend. The possessory conservator may elect an option for this alternative period of possession by giving written notice to the managing conservator within ninety (90) days after the parties begin to reside more than 100 miles apart. If the possessory conservator makes this election, the possessory conservator shall give the managing conservator fourteen (14) days' written or telephonic notice preceding a designated weekend.

(c) Weekend Possession Extended By Holiday. If a weekend period of possession of the possessory conservator coincides with a school holiday during the regular school term, or with a federal, state or local holiday during the summer months in which school is not in session, the weekend possession shall begin: (CHOOSE ONE)

_______ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. Thursday for a Friday holiday or school holiday;

_______ At the time the child's school is regularly dismissed for a Friday holiday or school holiday;

_______ If the child is enrolled in school, at _______ o'clock _____.m. (specify time elected between the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and 6:00 o'clock p.m.) on the day that the child's school is regularly dismissed for a Friday holiday or school holiday;

and ending: (CHOOSE ONE)

_______ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on a Monday holiday or school holiday;

_______ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school resumes after a Monday holiday or school holiday.

(d) Spring Vacation. Each year beginning: (CHOOSE ONE)

________ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation;

_________ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed for the school's spring vacation;

________ If the child is enrolled in school, at _________ o'clock _____.m. (specify time elected between the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation;

and ending: (CH00SE ONE)

________ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.

________ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school resumes after that vacation.

(e) Summer.

(1) If the possessory conservator gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven (7) days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two (2) separate periods of at least seven (7) consecutive days each.

(2) If the possessory conservator does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 consecutive days beginning at 6:00 o'clock p.m. on June 15 and ending at 6:00 o'clock p.m. on July 27.

(3) If the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning Friday at 6:00 o'clock p.m. and ending at 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the following Sunday during any one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivisions (5)(a) or (5)(b), provided that if a period of possession by the possessory conservator exceeds thirty (30) days, the managing conservator may have possession of the child under the terms of this subdivision on any two (2) nonconsecutive weekends during that time period, and further provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place.

If the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator may designate 21 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven (7) days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two (2) separate periods of at least seven (7) consecutive days each, during which the possessory conservator may not have possession of the child, provided that the period or periods so designated do not interfere with the possessory conservator's period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father's Day weekend if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.

C. HOLIDAY POSSESSION

The following provisions govern possession of the child for certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Wednesday periods of possession without regard to the instance the parents reside apart. The possessory conservator and managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

(a) Christmas.

(1) The possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning at 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas vacation and ending at noon on December 28. The managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years. (Could also be when school ends)

(2) The possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years beginning at noon on December 28 and ending: (CHECK ONE)

________ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.

_________ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school resumes after that vacation.

The managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years.

(b) Thanksgiving. The possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years beginning: (CHECK ONE)

________ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving;

________ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed for the Thanksgiving vacation;

________ If the child is enrolled in school, at _______ o'clock _____.m. (specify time elected between the time the child's school is regularly dismissed and 6:00 o'clock p.m.) on the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving;

and ending: (CHECK ONE)

________ At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the following Sunday.

_________ If the child is enrolled in school, at the time the child's school resumes after that vacation.

The managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years.

(c) Child's Birthday. The parent not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of a child on the child's birthday shall have possession of the child beginning at 6:00 o'clock p.m. and ending at 8:00 o'clock p.m. on that day, provided that said parent picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place.

(d) Father's Day Weekend. If a conservator, the father shall have possession of the child beginning at 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the Friday preceding Father's Day and ending on Father's Day at 6:00 o'clock p.m., provided that, if he is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, he picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place.

(e) Mother's Day Weekend. If a conservator, the mother shall have possession of the child beginning at 6:00 o'clock p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother's Day and ending on Mother's Day at 6:00 o'clock p.m., provided that, if she is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, she picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place.

D. GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Without regard to the distance between the residence of the parent and the child:

(a) The managing conservator shall surrender the child to the possessory conservator at the beginning of each period of the possessory conservator's possession at the residence of the managing conservator.

(b) If the possessory conservator elects to begin a period of possession at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed, the managing conservator shall surrender the child to the possessory conservator at the beginning of each such period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled.

(c) The possessory conservator shall: (CHECK ONE)

_______ Surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the residence of the possessory conservator.

________ Return the child to the residence of the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession. The possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the residence of the possessory conservator if (1) the possessory conservator's county of residence remains the same after the rendition of this order, and the managing conservator's county of residence changes, effective on the date of the change of domicile by the managing conservator, or (2) the possessory conservator and managing conservator lived in the same residence at any time during a six-month period preceding the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage was filed and the possessory conservator's county of residence remains the same and the managing conservator's county of residence changes after they no longer live in the same residence, effective on the date the order is rendered.

(d) If the possessory conservator elects to end a period of possession at the time the child's school resumes, the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each such period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled.

(e) Each conservator shall return with the child the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession.

(f) Either parent may designate any competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable. A parent or a designated competent adult shall be present when the child is picked up or returned.

(g) A parent shall give notice to the person in possession of the child on each occasion that the parent will be unable to exercise that parent's right of possession for any specified period. Repeated failure of a parent to give notice of an inability to exercise possessory rights may be considered as a factor in a modification of those possessory rights.

(h) Written notice shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or postmarked before or at the time that notice is due.

(i) If a conservator's time of possession of a child ends at the time school resumes and for any reason the child is not or will not be returned to school, the conservator in possession of the child shall immediately notify the school and the other conservator that the child will not be or has not been returned to school.

This is the end of the Standard possession order, adapted to show the options.

Whew! The End!

Note: The above language illustrates the Standard Possession Order, but for reasons stated obviously is NOT actual, ready-to drop-into-a-decree-of-divorce language.

There are other possible variations; think religious holidays, different schools, compelling child needs or activities, and more.

Child possession issues continue to be quite emotional for parents. You probably ought to consult with an experienced family law attorney to see how the foregoing language affects your particular situation.

The 2009 changes clarified that the Sec 153.317 Alternative Beginning and Ending Possession Times must be consistent and affirmatively made either in writing or orally on the record, prior to the rendition of the order, and will be granted unless the court finds that such extended possession is NOT in the best interest of the children.

Now that you understand the "SPO", do you understand CHILD SUPPORT?

Family Law Topics:

Email Us

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Raggio & Raggio, PLLC

Raggio & Raggio, PLLC
Main Office
3316 Oak Grove Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204

Dallas Law Office Map

Collin County Office
By Appointment Only

101 E. Park Blvd. Suite 600
Plano, TX 75074
Plano Law Office Map

Phone: 214-880-7500
Phone: 214-380-0608
Toll Free: 800-324-3397
Fax: 214-880-7506

Find Ken Raggio on Google+

Super Lawyers Listed in Best Lawyers | The World's Premier Guide | Board Certified | Texas Board of Legal Specialization Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms | US News & World Report | Family Law Tier1 | Dallas 2014 Best D 2010

Privacy Policy | Law Firm Marketing by FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business.