Texas Custody and Visitation Schedule Guidelines

The laws about Texas custody and visitation schedules are found in Title, 5 Chapter 153 of the Texas Family Code.

Here are some guidelines from the law to help you make your schedule.

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Possession and access instead of visitation

Texas uses the phrase possession of and access to the child instead of the terms custody and visitation. A parent has possession of a child when the child is with the parent.

When a parent has possession of the child, the parent:

  • Must care, control, protect, and reasonably discipline the child
  • Must provide clothes, food, shelter, and non-invasive health care to the child
  • May consent to non-invasive or emergency medical and dental care
  • May direct the moral and religious training of the child
Your possession and access schedule

Your possession and access schedule (visitation schedule) shows when each parent has time with the child. The schedule is part of your parenting plan, and becomes the possession and access order after the court approves it.

You and the other parent can make a schedule together and submit it to the court. If the court finds the schedule to be in the best interest of your child, the court will make your schedule the order.

Your schedule should allow your child to have frequent contact with both parents and encourage your child to have a close relationship with both parents. Your schedule should also have all the children in the family be together for periods of possession.

If you and the other parent are not able to agree on a schedule, the court will order the standard possession and access order.

The standard possession and access order for children 3+

You will have the standard possession and access order if you and the other parent don't make a different schedule together.

In the standard order for a child 3 years and older, the child lives with one parent (the managing conservator) and visits the other parent (the possessory conservator).

The child visits the possessory conservator:

  • Every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend from 6 pm on Friday to 6 pm on Sunday
  • Every Thursday during the school year from 6 pm to 8 pm


If the child has a Friday school holiday on the weekend of a visit, the visit starts on Thursday at 6 pm.


If the child has a Monday school holiday on the weekend of a visit, the visit is extended until Monday at 6 pm.


The holiday schedule for the standard order is:


The summer break schedule gives the possessory conservator 30 days with the child during summer vacation. The managing conservator has 1 weekend during this time. The visit goes from July 1-31 unless the parents schedule different times before April 1st.

Options for the standard order

You can change the possession times in the standard order to:

  • The weekend visit starting on Friday when the child gets out of school
  • The weekend visit ending when the child starts school on Monday morning
  • The Thursday night visit starting when the child gets out of school
  • The Thursday visit ending when the child starts school on Friday morning
  • Holidays starting and ending when school is out and school begins

Parents who live more than 100 miles from each other can make the following changes:

  • Instead of visits on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends, the possessory conservator can choose one weekend during the month for a visit (14 days notice must be given)
  • The possessory conservator gets spring break every year
  • The possessory conservator can have the child for 42 days of summer break (June 16 to July 27 unless a different time is scheduled by April 1st)
The standard possession order for children under 3

The court may decide a different standard possession and access schedule for a child who is less than 3 years old.

The court will considering the following when making a schedule for a child under 3:

  • Each parent's caregiving history
  • How the child will handle separation from either parent
  • Each parent's availability and willingness to personally care for the child
  • The child's physical, medical, behavioral, and developmental needs
  • Each parent's physical, medical, emotional, economic, and social conditions
  • Other people who live with the parents
  • The presence of siblings during periods of possession
  • The child's need to develop healthy attachments to both parents
  • The child's need for continuity of routine
  • The location and proximity of the parents' homes
  • The parents' ability to share in the responsibilities, rights, and duties of parenting

The court may also make a temporary possession schedule that slowly changes to the standard possession order as the child gets older or gets to know a parent better.

Provisions in your plan about the schedule

You can have provisions or rules about your schedule in your parenting plan to resolve safety concerns or to help your schedule work better.

The following provisions are allowed in Texas parenting plans:

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The top twenty cities in Texas (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Corpus Christi, Plano, Laredo, Lubbock, Garland, Irving, Amarillo, Brownsville, Grand Prairie, Pasadena, Mesquite, McAllen, Carrolltown.

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