What is a Standard Possession Order?

If you are a Texas parent planning to divorce your spouse, one of the things you and (s)he will need to do as part of your divorce proceedings is to agree on a post-divorce parenting plan with regard to your children. Should the two of you fail to construct your own plan, the Texas Family Code includes a Standard Possession Order by which you and (s)he will have to abide.

Remember, the SPO only becomes relevant if you and your spouse fail to reach agreement on a parenting plan of your own. Nevertheless, given that the SPO includes detailed parenting time schedules, you may wish to access it online to use as a reference when constructing your own plan.

When You and Your Former Spouse Reside Within 100 Miles of Each Other

The first SPO parenting schedule applies if you and your ex-spouse live within 100 miles of each other after your divorce and contains the following basic provisions:

  • Your children will visit the possessory conservator, i.e., their noncustodial parent, each month on the first, third and fifth weekend, staying with that parent from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • They will likewise visit the possessory conservator each Thursday evening during the school year from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • The possessory conservator must pick up the children from the custodial parent for all visitations and return them to him or her on time.
  • The possessory conservator must return to the custodial parent whatever clothing and other personal effects the children bring with them when they visit him or her.

When You and Your Former Spouse Reside Over 100 Miles from Each Other

The second SPO parenting schedule applies if you and you and your ex-spouse live more than 100 miles from each other after your divorce and contains the following basic provisions:

  • Your children will visit the possessory conservator one weekend each month from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • The possessory conservator may choose which weekend the children will visit him or her, but (s)he must inform the custodial parent of this choice by phone, email or snail mail at least 14 days before (s)he intends the visit to occur.
  • The possessory conservator will get extended parenting time with his or her children every summer and during their spring breaks from school.

As stated, the SPO represents Texas’s default parenting plan should you and your children’s other parent fail to come up with a plan of your own.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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