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Adjusting the Parenting Schedule For the Summer

Summertime is a change of pace for most families. The school schedule goes away (unless the children have summer school), and children enjoy a different rhythm to their days with day camps and sleep away camps; parents often enjoy a vacation or two with their children.  For divorced families under the Texas Standard Possession Order, the possession schedule changes in summer, too.

The biggest change for the summer schedule is the block of extended time each parent gets with the children. 

For the custodial parent, their weeks with the children are uninterrupted without the weekday possession periods (i.e. Thursday nights). So the non-custodial parent will lose that weekday possession, as well as have shorter weekends with the children (from 6 pm on Fridays to 6 pm on Sundays), but they will also get to enjoy up to a 30 day block of time with the children.

Of course, there are lots of options when it comes to carving out summer possession time, giving families the opportunity to tailor a summer plan that meets their family’s situation. Some of them include to:

  • Opt during the summer for a straight-forward week-on, week-off schedule, changing possession at 5 pm on Sundays for example. This can be easier for the children to keep track of, as well as allow for future planning for vacations.
  • Continue their school year schedule year-round, including during the summer. This can be less confusing for the children, with their schedule remaining constant with no change for the summer.
  • To continue a family tradition to send the children away to an extended summer camp, or for a visit to the grandparent’s home. Factoring this into summer possession can allow the parties to adjust the possession schedule to compensate for a parent’s “lost” possession time.

Although the State of Texas identifies a Standard Possession schedule for summer, the summer possession schedule can be tailored to meet your family’s needs if both parents are agreeable. If you have a preference as to summer possession, or know that you have summertime family traditions (e.g., 4th of July, family reunions) that you’d like to ensure continue, be sure to discuss these with your attorney before negotiating your possession schedule.  In many cases, it is possible to custom tailor a possession schedule that meets the unique needs of your family situation. 

Of course, give and take in negotiating with the other parent is also important in maintaining a good co-parenting relationship.  Keep focused on the big picture and what will be best for your children – to spend time with both parents creating valuable memories.

If you’d like help in tailoring a possession schedule that fits your family, or would like to explore revising your current possession schedule, give Hargrave Family Law a call; we’re here to help.