Under a standard possession schedule, the possession of the children during school and holidays is set out with specificity to make the parties aware of what time they have with the children. During the school year, a non-custodial parent receives the first, third, and fifth weekends of the months along with every Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. When summer rolls around, the possession schedule changes to allow both parties time with the children when they are out of school.
Absent the possession designated below for summer, the typical first, third, and fifth weekends will apply for the non-custodial parent’s summer possession of the children. However, the Thursday possession periods for that parent will not take place during the summer. The parents will need to keep these designated weekends in mind when scheduling their respective summer possession with the children.
In addition to the weekend possession, during the summer, the non-custodial parent is given 30 days with the children, which can be chosen by that parent as long as they give notice to the custodial parent by April 1 of that year. If they give notice, then they can choose two periods of possession which last at least 7 consecutive days each. The periods chosen must occur after the day the children’s school ends for the summer and 7 days before the children go back to school. If the parent does not choose a schedule for summer before April 1, then their possession defaults to July 1 to July 31 for the summer.
For the custodial parent’s summer possession, they are entitled to choose two weekends during the summer when the otherwise designated summer possession for the non-custodial parent will not take place. So, if the custodial parent gives notice to the non-custodial parent by April 15 of that year, then the custodial parent can choose a weekend during the non-custodial’s summer possession that will not take place. Also, the custodial parent can choose a designated weekend possession period for the non-custodial parent that will not take place, as long as it does not interfere with Father’s Day if the non-custodial parent is the father of the children. This will essentially give the custodial parent three weeks in a row with the children to allow for a summer vacation period with the children.
It is important to understand the nuances of the summer possession schedule with the children so as not to cause confusion when electing your designated periods during the summer. The standard possession schedule as laid out in the family code is designed to give both the custodial and non-custodial parent adequate time during the summer with the children. Parents can choose to alter this possession order in their final decree or order, but they need to ensure that whatever schedule they choose will allow both of them enough time with the children during the summer.