The Presumed Standard Possession Order


Types of Possession Orders in Texas:

  • Standard Possession Order

  • What the Court presumes automatically.

  • Visitation arrangements can have many variations. If parents cannot agree, child custody will generally follow a schedule developed by the Texas Legislature that is designed to be fair and workable for both parents in most circumstances -- the Standard Possession Order (“SPO”). A sample form of the Standard Possession Order is located on our Client’s Portal side of our website in both English and Spanish.

  • Expanded SPO

  • Allows the noncustodial parent to elect alternate beginning and ending possession times when exercising the Standard Possession Order. Under the current statute, the noncustodial parent can elect to modify their possession periods to begin at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed and to end at the time the child’s school resumes as opposed to the 6:00 p.m. start and end time. To make this election, the noncustodial parent must make this election prior to or at the time the Judge signs the possession order. The election must be made in a written document filed with the court or must be made orally by the noncustodial parent in open court to the Judge.

  • Custom Possession Order

  • Can be for many reasons, such as distance between the parent’s residences or employment reasons.

  • Limited/Supervised Visitation

  • Due to physical, mental, and/or emotional abuse

  • If there has been a history of abuse or neglect, the court may require that any visitation by the abusive or neglectful parent be supervised. Generally courts will appoint a mutually agreed upon family member or third party to supervise the periods of possession or will appoint a supervision facility to conduct the supervision.

Standard Possession Order Overview:

If both parents reside within 100 miles of each other:


Every 1, 3, 5th weekend of each month and every Thursday night, during the school year.


All Holidays follow below Holiday Schedule with exception of:

  • Summer 30 days

  • Spring Break every year


If either parent reside outside/over 100 miles of the other parent:


Every 1, 3, 5th weekend of each month OR parent may elect to only visit once a month at their election with two week notice to the other parent due to distance.


All Holidays follow below Holiday Schedule with exception of:

  • Summer 45 days

  • Spring Break every year


Holiday Schedule: The below holiday schedule breakdown applies to both over and under 100 mile elections.

Christmas: switch off even/odd years with one parent getting the child from the time school is out through Christmas and the other getting the child after Christmas until the day before Christmas break is over.

Thanksgiving: switch off even/odd years

Easter: switch off even/odd years

Child’s Birthday: May both see for durations of time, but default to whomever has child during normal possession

Mother’s Day: Mother gets children

Father’s Day: Father gets children


General Terms and Conditions: The below terms and conditions apply to both over and under 100 mile elections:

1. Surrender of Child by Wife. Wife is ORDERED to surrender the child to Husband at the beginning of each period of Husband’s possession, by delivering the child to Husband at Wife’s residence.


2. Surrender of Child by Husband. Husband is ORDERED to surrender the child to Wife at the beginning of each period of Wife’s possession, by delivering the child to Wife at Husband's residence.


3. Personal Effects. Each conservator is ORDERED to return with the child the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession.


4. Designation of Competent Adult. Each conservator may designate any competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable. IT IS ORDERED that a conservator or a designated competent adult be present when the child is picked up or returned.


5. Written Notice. Written notice shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or postmarked before or at the time that notice is due.


6. Child Not Returned to School. If a party's time of possession of a child ends at the time school resumes and for any reason the child is not or will not be returned to school, the party in possession of the child is ORDERED to immediately notify the school and the other party that the child will not be or has not been returned to school.


7. Notice to Other Parent. Each party is ORDERED to promptly inform the other party in a timely manner of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child.



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