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Texas standard possession orders

In the view of Texas courts handling family law matters, allowing a child to develop and maintain good relationships with both parents is considered to be in the child's best interests in most circumstances. When divorcing parents are unable to agree on visitation matters, a judge will grant the noncustodial parent those rights according to a standard possession schedule established by the legislature.

When neither parent's home poses a danger to the child, judges will grant visitation to the noncustodial parent. The parent will be entitled to visitation on the first, third and fifth Fridays of the month through Sundays, with beginning and ending times at 6:00 PM. In addition, he or she will be granted visitation on Thursdays from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, alternating holidays and 30 days in the summer time, or 42 days if the child and noncustodial parent live more than 100 miles apart.

Noncustodial parents can request in writing to be granted an expanded standard possession order. The request must be submitted when the judge is making the order. Expanded time means the parent will have the child on every other Friday when school lets out and continuing until the following Monday's school start.

Visitation can look like many different things, and if parents are able to agree to something else, judges will grant their preference instead of the standard order. It is important for people in child custody disputes to understand that courts encourage the fostering of a child's relationship with both parents. If a parent wants a different visitation schedule, trying to reach an agreement is important. People in such situations may wish to consult with a family law attorney for help with devising a parenting time schedule that is acceptable to all parties.

Source: State Bar of Texas, "Pro Se Divorce Handbook", October 21, 2014

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