- Planning your weekends well in advance helps things go more smoothly. Get prior approval to take off work, if necessary, and coordinate in advance with the other parent about schedules and the children’s extracurricular activities.
- Some parents meet midway and exchange the child at a pre-arranged location. Other parents split the commute—the receiving parent drives to pick up the child. Parents have to be clear about times and locations with a back-up plan in case of car trouble or heavy traffic.
- In a long‐distance parenting plan, think about time children lose with both parents when traveling for a long time. Building parenting time into travel may be a possible solution. Travel time activities can be a chance for parents and children to transition and enhance their relationship. Whenever possible, the receiving parent should be the accompanying the child that is traveling.
Parents can ask for possession (parenting time) to start:
- When the child’s school ends for the day on Friday, and end when school resumes (on Monday or, if Monday is a holiday, on Tuesday)
- At a pick up or drop off location somewhere other than a parent’s house, such as a gas station or a fast food restaurant between the two parents’ houses. The location must be very specific so there is no misunderstanding about the pick up or drop off point.
- At a different time and date because of the schedule of the child, the age of the child, the special needs of the child, the schedule of a conservator, or any other relevant factor.
- The noncustodial parent can elect to take possession of the child only one weekend per month. In this case, the noncustodial parent gets to pick the weekend he or she wants, as long as he or she gives the other parent at least 14 days’ written or telephonic notice.
You may request, or the court may limit where the custodial parent can move with the child. This is called a “geographic restriction.” For example, if both parents live in Houston, the court may not allow the custodial parent to move with the child outside Harris County or any of the surrounding counties. This restriction helps ensure that both parents remain involved in the child’s life. Some judges favor geographic restrictions more than other judges.
Children spend every spring break with the noncustodial parent.
To find out the dates of your child’s spring break, contact your child’s school district or visit the school’s website and search for the school’s calendar.
If the noncustodial parent lives more than 100 miles away from the child, he or she gets an extended summer possession of up to 42 days.
NCPs must give written notice to the CP by April 1 if they want to specify an extended period(s) of summer possession.
If the CP gives the NCP written notice by April 15 of each year, the CP shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during any one extended period of summer possession by the NCP.
If written notice is not given and the parents live more than 100 miles apart, the NCP shall have possession from 6 p.m. June 15 through 6 p.m. July 27.
Unless the parents agree to a different pick-up and drop-off point, the child is picked up at the parent’s residence.
If the CP gives the NCP written notice by April 15 of each year, the CP may designate 21 days that begin not earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than 7 periods of at least 7 consecutive days each, beginning and ending at 6 p.m. on each applicable day. The NCP may not have possession of the child during this time if the period or periods do not interfere with the NCP’s period or periods of extended summer possession, or with Father’s Day, if the NCP is the father of the child.
If the parents live within 100 miles of each other, the noncustodial parent is entitled to 30 days of parenting time during the summer months. If written notice is not given and the parents live under 100 miles apart, the NCP shall have possession from 6 p.m. July 1 through 6 p.m. July 31.
The parent not in possession of the child on the child’s birthday is entitled to pick up the child for two hours between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
If the mother is not in possession of the child on Mother’s Day, she is entitled to pick up the child for a period of parenting time over Mother’s Day.
If the father is not in possession of the child on Father’s Day, he is entitled to pick up the child for a period of parenting time over Father’s Day.
The Thanksgiving holiday season alternates between odd and even years. The noncustodial parent has possession for this vacation period in odd-numbered years and the custodial parent has possession in even-numbered years.
The Christmas holiday season is divided into two parts. Part one is from the day school is dismissed until noon on December 26 (or December 28 if your order was signed after June 15, 2007). Part two is from noon on December 26 (or December 28 if your order was signed after June 15, 2007) until 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after the Christmas vacation.
In odd-numbered years, the custodial parent will have the child for the first half of the holiday period and the noncustodial parent the second half of the holiday period. In even-numbered years, the noncustodial parent will have the child for the first half of the holiday period and the custodial parent will have the child for the second half of the holiday period.
Weekday and weekend time also may be extended by holidays that fall on Friday or Monday.
Check your local school district’s calendar for specifics about vacations and holidays and use the calendar’s stickers or other stickers to plan with your child.