When it comes to matters of child custody and visitation, it is crucial to be familiar with the specific laws and regulations governing your jurisdiction. In the state of Texas, the Family Code outlines different possession schedules for noncustodial parents, including the standard possession and expanded standard possession options.

Understanding the difference between these two arrangements is vital for parents navigating the complexities of custody arrangements. This article aims to shed light on the dissimilarities between standard possession and expanded standard possession under Texas state law.

Standard Possession

Standard possession refers to a custody arrangement designed to ensure regular visitation rights for noncustodial parents. This schedule typically applies to parents who reside more than 50 miles but less than  100 miles of each other. As per Texas Family Code Section 153.312, the noncustodial parent is granted possession of the child on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month. This typically begins on Friday evening at 6:00 PM and continues until Sunday evening at 6:00 PM. Furthermore, the noncustodial parent may also be granted possession for a specified period on Thursday evenings during the school year.

During specific occasions, such as birthdays, holidays, and summer vacation, the noncustodial parent may be granted additional time with the child. It is important to note that in standard possession, the noncustodial parent has a right to a 30-day extended summer possession period, which can be exercised once every year, usually from July 1s to July 31. The parents would alternate holidays with Thanksgiving and Spring Break being all-or-nothing holidays, meaning one year a parent would get the entire week, and the next year the other parent would get that week. Christmas is usually a split holiday with one parent getting the first half one year and the second half the next year.

Expanded Standard Possession

Expanded standard possession, on the other hand, offers noncustodial parents additional visitation time with their child. This schedule is generally applicable to parents who reside less than 50 miles apart. Texas Family Code Section 153.317 outlines the expanded standard possession schedule, which provides the noncustodial parent with visitation on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month, similar to standard possession.

However, the major difference lies in the length of visitation time. In expanded standard possession, the noncustodial parent is granted possession of the child for the entire weekend, beginning on Friday when school lets out and extending until Monday morning, when the child is returned to the custodial parent. This extended period allows for a more substantial and meaningful visitation experience, particularly for parents who reside in close geographic proximity to their child geographically distant from their child.

Another distinction between standard possession and expanded standard possession is the provision for midweek overnight visitation. Under the expanded standard possession schedule, the noncustodial parent to exercise’s visitation on Thursday each week of the school year. As a result, on the first, third, and fifth weekends. Visitation would start Thursday after school and continue until Monday morning when school resumes. On the second and fourth weekend visitation would be Thursday overnight. Summers and holidays remain the same as standard possession.  This arrangement aims to foster a consistent relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child.

Conclusion

Understanding the differences between standard possession and expanded standard possession is crucial for parents seeking clarity on child custody arrangements under Texas state law. While both options provide visitation rights to the noncustodial parent, expanded standard possession offers additional time and flexibility for parents living less than 50 miles apart. By familiarizing themselves with the specific provisions outlined in the Texas Family Code, parents can make informed decisions that prioritize the well-being and best interests of their children.

Navigating child custody matters can be challenging, and it is recommended that parents consult with a family law attorney or mediators who specialize in such cases. By seeking legal guidance and working together, parents can create custody arrangements that promote healthy parent-child relationships and support the overall development of their children.

Contact us here at Lundberg Law if you would like to schedule a free consultation.

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