What Is a Possession and Access Order in Texas?
A Possession and Access Order in Texas is a type of court order issued by family courts that governs child visitation rights. The court can decide to issue a "Standard Possession and Access Order" under Texas Family Code sections 153.3101-153.317 or a non-standard order.
The "possession" portion of a "Standard Possession and Access Order" covers the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent. With the standard order, the noncustodial parent's visitation schedule is set by the statute.
If the parents reside 100 miles or less apart from each other the standard order grants non-custodial parent's visitation on the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month from 6 P.M. Friday until 6 P.M. Sunday. In addition, the non-custodial parent is also granted visitation every Thursday during the school year from 6 P.M. until 8 P.M. If the parents live more than 100 miles apart the non-custodial parent may select between either the first, third, and fifth weekend schedule noted above or a single weekend of their choosing each month so long as the law's notification requirements are met.
The statute also sets a holiday visitation schedule. If the parents live 100 miles or less apart from each other, the non-custodial parent will have visitation during spring break during alternating years. But if the parents live 100 miles or greater apart, the custodial parent will have visitation every spring break.
In addition, non-custodial parents are granted 42 days of visitation during summer break. The non-custodial parent can elect to have visitation from June 15 to July 27 of each year or they can elect to break the visitation up into two segments with dates of their choosing so long as they comply with the law's notice requirements.
The law also provides that under a "Standard Possession and Access Order" the non-custodial parent will have visitation during alternating years for the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays. In addition, the statute provides special visitation rules for the child's birthday, Father's Day, and Mother's Day.
Finally, the "access" portion of an "Access and Possession Order' sets forth what type of non-personal contact the non-custodial parent can have with their child. For example, an order can state that the parent can call the child at given times, or can even state that the parent can communicate via text or e-mail messages.
While the "Standard Possession and Access Order" is the default order that the courts will initially consider, the court may elect to issue a non-standard order. First, the law permits parents to negotiate and agree upon their own desired visitation arrangement. In addition, if the court finds that neither the standard arrangement provided under the statute or any negotiated arrangement are in the best interests of the children the judge may elect to issue a non-standard order that he/she feels is in the best interests of the children.
If you are getting divorced and need assistance with a possession and access order in Texas, you can text or call the America Family Law Center.