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Legal Information: Texas


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November 5, 2020

What is a standard possession order?

A standard possession order is basically a visitation schedule that lays out a parent’s rights of possession of and access to his/her child.1 In a standard possession order, the parents can either agree on a schedule or the judge will order a schedule s/he thinks is appropriate.2 The schedule contains exact dates and times that a child will stay with each parent.

According to the law, if the possessory conservator lives 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, the possessory conservator will usually have the right to possession of the child during the following times unless the judge finds that it would not be in the best interest of the child:

  • on weekends throughout the year beginning at 6 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday; and
  • on Thursdays of each week during the regular school term beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m.3

There is also a typical standard possession order regarding vacation time. You can read the details about vacation time in section 153.312 of the law, subsection (b) on our Selected Texas Statutes page.

If the possessory conservator resides more than 100 miles from the residence of the child, the standard possession schedule for the possessory conservator would likely be different. You can read about the possible schedules in section 153.313 of the law on our Selected Texas Statutes page

The standard possession order is generally designed for a child over three years old. Therefore, if the child is under three years of age, there may be a different order in effect until the child turns three.4 See What factors will a judge consider for a child who is less than 3 years old? for more information.

The judge can change the standard possession order to accommodate the parties. If the judge decides to do this, s/he will consider several factors including the age, developmental status, circumstances, needs, the best interest of the child and the circumstances of the managing conservator and of the parent named as a possessory conservator.5

1 Tex. Fam. Code § 101.029
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.311
3 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.312(a)
4 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.254
5 Tex. Fam. Code § 153.256