An Overview of the Standard Visitation Schedule in Texas
Most of the time, parents undergoing a divorce find their child visitation schedule one of the most difficult things thing to deal with. Child custody and divorce is challenging enough, but dealing with the changes where you’d have to visit your child while following a tight schedule is pretty tough. Parents facing this scenario tend to disagree on who gets to spend time with the child on which days of the week. They can also argue on who gets the child on each holiday and other special events. Even if the parents are pretty amicable with each other, it’s not always easy to come up with a flexible visitation schedule. The court often encourages a visitation schedule that fairly divides the child’s time between the two parents. It’s basically the essence of conservatorship in Texas.
The Texas Family Code actually has a guideline when it comes to child visitation schedules. This guideline includes the daily schedule of the child, such as weekends, vacations and holidays. The guidelines apply to all but since each family situation is different, it doesn’t always have a positive effect on all families affected. For some, it has a positive effect. For others, it can be negative, depending on the circumstances they are facing.
Hence, every family who is going through the pains of divorce and child custody conflicts all have many questions regarding particular events in relation to the guidelines set by the state of Texas.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where will the child stay most of the time?
The child’s primary residence is usually the biggest concern of both parents. You will know where the child’s primary residence will be once the divorce or the child custody case is finalized. The parent that the child will stay with most of the time is the managing conservator. The other parent who will get child visitation rights will be the possessory conservator. Each parent will have different opportunities when it comes to spending time with the child. Hence, it is essential for the court to determine the role of each parent in conservatorship.
2. How is Weekend Child Visitation Scheduled?
In typical cases, the child will spend the first, third and fifth weekend of every month with the possessory conservator parent. These weekend visits will start at 6 PM on Friday and it will end on 6 PM on Sunday. The Texas Family Code provides the 6 PM pick-up and drop-off time but you can make adjustments with your co-parent most of the time.
3. How will the child spend various holidays throughout the year?
Holidays are equally divided between the two parents each year and this schedule will be alternated every year. For instance, if you get to spend Thanksgiving with your child in 2017, you wouldn’t have spent Christmas with him or her as well, because the child would have spent it with the other parent. In 2018, you will get to have your child over during Christmas holidays but not for Thanksgiving. However, Christmas holiday period is usually divided into two parts. The first part begins at 6 PM of the last day of school before the Christmas break and it ends at 6 PM on December 28. The second part will then begin, and it will end at 6 PM on the last Sunday before school resumes. As for Thanksgiving, it is not divided into two parts, hence, it is alternated between the parents every year.
No parent will get to spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas within the same year, however.
As for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, you will have the privilege of spending time with your child on that day, regardless of which weekend of the month it is.
4. What should you do to avoid confusion with the child visitation schedules?
It is advised that you keep copies of your court orders, especially the most recent ones so that you can have a guide if you need to refer to them later on.
5. How do you deal with the child visitation schedule during summer vacation?
Summer vacation is definitely a period that children look forward to the rest of the year. They will always be so excited to get to play without worrying about school work and other stuff. They might get to visit new places or go to summer camps. Overall, their summer vacation is usually filled with activity. For the possessory conservator parent, summer vacation provides an opportunity to spend time with the child for an extended period of time. Most of the time, possessory parents can be awarded up to 30 days with the child during summer vacation. If you are the possessory conservator, you will have to contact the managing conservator before April 1st to schedule an extended summer visitation with you. If you fail to provide notice to the managing conservator, the default time you will be the entirety of the month of July.
To avoid further issues, we recommend using certified mail or email when you send your notice. Choose an email service that will provide you with a read receipt so that you’d be able to know the exact date or time your ex-spouse read the email. You will then have something you would be able to use as reference later if needed.
Child visitation schedule conflicts and disagreements often come up all throughout the year but they’re exceptionally worse during the holidays. It is important to stick to pickup and drop-off times and to be considerate of your co-parent. Keep communication lines open especially during chaotic times such as the holidays. If you apply the golden rule in your co-parenting relationship, there is a huge chance that you’d be able to enjoy each moment you spend with your child in peace. In the end, your child will benefit the most if you keep a harmonious co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse.
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