What is a Standard Possession Order?
As you contemplate divorce, your children’s future custody and visitation arrangements likely form some of your greatest concerns. Texas law allows you and your soon-to-be former spouse to agree on whatever custody and visitation plan you want. If you cannot agree, however, the Texas Code makes provision for a Standard Possession Order, the default custody arrangement and parenting plan.
Keep in mind that you will become your children’s custodial parent if they live with you the majority of the time after your divorce. Your former spouse will become their noncustodial parent.
Living 100 or fewer miles apart
The SPO calls for the following visitation by the NCP if you and (s)he maintain residences less than 100 miles apart from each other:
- The first, third and fifth weekends of each month, commencing at 6 p.m. on Friday and ending at 6 p.m. on Sunday
- Every Thursday during the school year from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Extended summer visitation
Living more than 100 miles apart
In the event that you and your former spouse live more than 100 miles away from each other, the SPO calls for the following NCP visitation schedule:
- (S)he can choose one weekend a month for visitation from Friday at 6 p.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m. throughout the year.
- (S)he must advise the custodial parent in writing of the choice at least 90 days after the parties begin living more than 100 miles away from each other.
- Should (s)he wish to change a weekend, (s)he must advise the custodial parent in writing of this change at least 14 days before the anticipated weekend.
- (S)he gets extended visitation during the children’s summer vacations and spring breaks.
Under either arrangement, the NCP gets the children on Thanksgiving in odd-numbered years. (S)he also gets them for the first half of the Christmas school vacation in these years.