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Texas Family Law: Standard Possession Order vs Extended Standard Possession Order

The term “Standard Possession Order” in Texas is used to describe the default visitation schedule given to a non-custodial parent in a divorce or a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. Under the Standard Possession Order, the non-custodial parent has the right to possession of the child for two hours every Thursday and from Friday evening through Sunday evening on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month. The non-custodial parent is also granted the right to possession of the child over holidays and for an extended period of time over the summer.

Something that is becoming more and more popular in family courts is the “Extended Standard Possession Order.” This is something that courts are putting into place when there is evidence that the non-custodial parent is extremely involved in the child’s life or has a close relationship with the child, or for some other reason that the court determines warrants more time with the child. Under the Extended Standard Possession Order, the holiday and summer visitation periods are the same, but the weekly Thursday visits and first, third, and fifth weekend visits are adjusted. Instead of having the right to possession of the child for only two hours on Thursday, the Extended Standard Possession Order grants the non-custodial parent the right to possession of the child from the time the child is released from school on Thursday through the time the child returns to school on Friday. Likewise, the non-custodial parent has the right to possession of the child on first, third, and fifth weekends from the time the child is released from school on Friday through the time the child returns to school on Monday.

Over the course of the year, these extra overnight visits add up to significantly more time spent with the child than under the Standard Possession Order. If you are dealing with a divorce or Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, make sure you have an attorney that is experienced in these nuanced differences that can have a huge impact on your life.

For the text of the Texas Extended Standard Possession Order, see Sec. 153.317 of the Texas Family Code at this link: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.153.htm

 

 

 

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Steve Harrelson
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