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Visitation Arrangements in Texas

Parents can arrive at their own arrangements for visitation outside of court and submit their agreed parenting plan to the court for approval.  In fact, the courts encourage parents to arrive at amicable decisions without court intervention, but always base approval on what is in the best interests of the child.  There are various scheduling factors to consider when deciding how children spend time with their parents:
  • Weekends or weekdays
  • Holidays
  • Winter and spring breaks
  • Summer vacations
  • Hours of pickup or delivery

The Texas Family Code addresses visitation, and uses the legal terms possession and access of the child when referring to visitation.  The Family Code proposes several different schedules for possession, under the standard possession order, which applies to children who are three years old and older.  The standard possession schedule varies based on the distance parents live apart, whether within 100 miles or farther from each other.  The order also has options of picking up and returning a child from school. Examples of some schedule details under the standard possession order  include:

  • Weekend schedules begin at 6:00 PM on Friday and end at 6:00 PM on Sunday for the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month
  • Weekday visitation is from 6:00 PM to 8:00PM on Thursdays during the regular school term
  • Possession on vacations and specific holidays are even-numbered years, beginning at 6:00 PM on the day the child is dismissed from school for spring vacation and ending at 6:00 PM on the day before school resumes
  • More recent schedules involve picking up the child from school and returning the child to school Monday morning after a weekend and returning the child to school Friday morning after a Thursday possession.  The courts often order this expanded version of the SPO – Standard Possession Order – rather than the more limited one described above.
  • With respect to small children, 3 years of age and younger, the courts often order what is referred to as a “Stair-Step” possession schedule, wherein the child spends time with the non-custodial parent more and more as time passes. The older the child, the more possession time.   At age 3, the SPO then usually comes into full effect.

Experienced child custody attorneys in Texas can make suggestions and work with spouses to determine beneficial parenting plans for their children.

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Robert Reid McInvale
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Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Lubbock. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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