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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Mohr

Summer 2024 and the Texas Standard Possession Order





The Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO) often brings predictability to parenting schedules, but this summer presents a unique scenario, especially for non-primary parents who are dads. Understanding how the calendar falls this year can help both moms and dads plan their time effectively, ensuring quality moments with their children.


As always, we are not your attorney unless you have retained us to be your attorney. The information in this blog is meant to be general educational information and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney to discuss your individual questions and needs.



 

The 2024 Summer Breakdown: What Parents Need to Know


Both moms and dads can be appointed as the "primary" or "non-primary" conservator in Texas, and possession schedules that differ from the SPO (for example, 50/50 schedules) are becoming more and more common. While every family is different, this blog focuses on parents operating under the SPO if the dad is the non-primary conservator.


This year, the structure of the Standard Possession Order gives dads who are the non-primary conservators a significant amount of continuous summer parenting time. Here's how the schedule plays out:


  • Fifth Weekend in May: Because May 31 was a Friday, that weekend counted as the 5th weekend in May, making it the dad's weekend. This can be unclear because Saturday was June 1, but don't forget that weekends are counted by Friday, not Saturday.


  • First Weekend in June: June 7- June 9 is the first weekend in June because Friday, June 7 is the first Friday in June. This weekend is also the dad's weekend.


  • Second Weekend in June: June 14 - June 16 would ordinarily be the second weekend in June, making it the mom's weekend. This year, though, Father's Day falls on Sunday, June 16, 2024, making this weekend that dad's weekend as well. Because this is a holiday weekend, the mom cannot over-ride this weekend for her extend period of summer possession.


  • Third Weekend in June: June 21 - June 23 is the third weekend in June, making it the dad's weekend.


  • Fourth Weekend in June: June 28 - June 30 is the fourth weekend in June, making it the first weekend in the summer that is the mom's weekend.


  • Month of July: If the dad did not select an alternate extended summer possession time by April 1, the dad has the right to possession for July. The mom does have the right to designate one weekend in July to have parenting time, as long as the procedures for correctly designating this weekend were followed by April 15.


  • First Weekend in August: August 2 - 4 is the first weekend in August, making yet another weekend the dad's weekend.


  • Second Weekend in August: August 9 - 11 is the second weekend in August, making it the mom's weekend. Many schools return for the 2024-2025 school year the following week, so this is likely the last weekend of the summer for many parents.


Under the SPO, in this scenario, the mom has the right to pick one of the dad's regular weekend periods of possession to "knock out" with 14 days advance notice, giving the mom an extended period of possession. The tricky part this year is that there aren't many options that would result in the mom getting an extended period because Father's Day weekend and the dad's extended period in July can't be "knocked out." Depending on the situation, the mom's best option might be to "knock out" the dad's first weekend in August, giving the mom parenting time from July 31 through August 15 or 16, depending on when the child's school resumes.



Remember that many orders and schedules differ, so this analysis might not apply to your situation. Also, parents are encouraged to work together to craft a schedule that works best for their children, regardless of what schedule the order outlines.

 

Understanding and Planning Around the SPO


This year’s schedule could feel particularly unbalanced due to how weekends and holidays are structured. It’s important for both parents to recognize that while the Standard Possession Order provides a baseline, flexibility and communication are key to managing extended periods without possession. Parents might consider discussing opportunities to balance out the parenting time, especially if the rigid SPO framework doesn’t serve the best interests of the children or the family dynamics.


 

Tips for Coping with the Summer SPO


  1. Plan Ahead: Early planning can help manage expectations and reduce conflicts. Knowing the schedule months in advance allows both parents to make the most of their designated times.

  2. Communication is Key: Open lines of communication between parents can facilitate swaps or adjustments to the schedule, accommodating special family events or vacations.

  3. Consider the Children: Always put the needs and interests of the children first. If the standard schedule causes undue stress or hardship on the kids, it might be worth finding a mutually agreeable solution.

  4. Legal Advice: If the standard possession order consistently poses challenges, consulting with a family law attorney can provide options that might better suit your family’s needs.

 

As we navigate this unique summer schedule, it’s crucial for parents to maintain a cooperative and flexible approach. At Mohr Law Group, we understand that every family's situation is unique, and we are here to help you find the best solutions for maintaining a loving, stable environment for your children during the summer months and beyond.


Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about your custody arrangements or if you need guidance adapting the Standard Possession Order to better fit your family’s needs.





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