Summer is around the corner, and so is Extended Summer Visitation
for families that share custody of the kiddos.
If you are among the large number of families in Texas who share custody of kiddos, the deadline to make plans for extended summer visitation is close at hand. April 1, 2018, also Easter Sunday, is only 5 days away. Whether this is your first summer or your last dealing with extended summer visitation, you’ll find the following steps helpful.
To keep things simple, I will refer to the parents as follows:
Moore: Managing conservator, custodial parent, primary conservator, sole custodian, similar language per the final decree or visitation order, may be the parent the kiddo spends more time with under standard possession order.
Leslie: Possessory conservator, non-custodial parent, secondary conservator, similar language per the final decree or visitation order, may be the parent kiddo spends less time with under standard possession order.
Step 1-Basic Questions
Review your final decree or visitation order and answer the following questions:
NOTE, the document may actually state that it follows the standard possessions order.
NOTE, the specifics of your final decree or visitation order trump the standard possession order.
How far away do you live from your child?
Is your child over the age of 3, the age the full standard possession order usually applies?
Step 2-Review Statute and Your Decree or Order
If your final decree or visitation order is the standard possession order, you’ll follow the standards set by the statutes depending on how far away you reside from your child:
100 miles or less from your child OR more than 100 miles from your child
NOTE, Please click the links above and review the actual statutes. Also reread your decree or order. One more time and say it altogether, “my decree or order takes precedence and may differ from the standard possession order found in Texas statutes.”
Double-check deadlines, time periods and restrictions depending on the distance. These could include but are not exclusive to locations and details for pick-up or the dates within which the extended visit must be scheduled.
Step 3-Written Notice by Deadlines
Leslie’s Deadline-April 1, 2018
(Non-custodial Parent, Possessory Conservator, Less time with the kiddo)
April 1, 2018-Leslie must give written notice to Moore if she wants extended summer visitation divided into no more than two periods. If Leslie does not provide notice, visitation is automatically set from 6:00 p.m. July 1, 2018 to 6:00 p.m. July 31, 2018 if Leslie resides 100 miles or less from the child OR from 6 p.m. on June 15 to 6 p.m. on July 27 if Leslie resides more than 100 miles from the child. If Leslie makes the request timely, she can split the days between two visits regardless of how far she lives from the child.
For the standard possession order, Father’s Day is considered a holiday and it supersedes any visitation request regardless of distance so the kiddo can see Dad that weekend. The 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends and other visitation periods under the standard possession order still apply when the kiddo isn’t visiting Leslie during summer break and Leslie isn’t exercising extended summer visitation.
Moore’s Deadline-April 15, 2018
(Custodial Parent, Managing Conservator, More time with the kiddo)
April 15, 2018-Moore may give Leslie written notice of a period he would like to see the child during the extended summer visitation period requested or the one automatically set by statute. If Leslie and Moore reside 100 miles or less apart, Moore gets one weekend from 6:00 p.m. Friday to 6:00 p.m. Sunday. If a request is not made by April 15, 2018 and the distance is 100 miles or less, Moore may give 14 days notice for one weekend visitation but it may not interfere with Leslie’s 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend visitation or other regular visitation. Don’t forget the kiddo always spends Father’s Day weekend with Dad.
If a request is made by April 15, 2018 and Leslie and Moore reside more than a 100 miles from each other, Moore may make a written request for a period of up to 21 days split between no more than two time periods or for two non-consecutive weekends. Once again, there are also restrictions for periods where regular visitation is exercised outside of the extended summer periods and Father’s Day.
There is NO default for Moore when he resides more than 100 miles from Leslie if he doesn’t submit a written request by April 15. If Moore does not make the optional request by April 15, 2018, he will not get to see the kiddo during Leslie’s extended summer visitation, unless Father’s Day falls during the period.
Step 4-Enjoy the Summer!
Whatever your summer plans, remember it’s still summer for the child no matter the relationship you do or do not have with the other parent. Avoid turning summer visitation planning into a battle. Ask yourself, “is it really necessary to go to court to determine the exact weekend or month the kiddo will spend with me?” Save the money and go to an amusement park or send the kiddo to art lessons.
Texas Family Code Section. 153.312: 100 miles or less from your child
Texas Family Code Section. 153.313: More than 100 miles from your child
Submit your written request to the other parent by the deadline.
And most importantly, have a SAFE and HAPPY summer!
Please contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about Extended Summer Visitation or any family law concerns.