This video discusses the child visitation schedules. We’ll discuss the 4 most common possession and access schedules that our clients use.
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About this Child Visitation Video
Possession and access is sometimes referred to as child visitation.
We’re going to discuss the 4 most common schedules that we see in our office. One of these 4 are probably used in 95% of the divorces we see, so they work for most couples.
I’m going to be using two terms that we discussed on a previous page. They are primary and possessory. Remember that the primary conservator is generally the parent that receives child support and also determines where the child lives for purposes of school. The other parent is typically called the possessory conservator.
Now before I get into the details, I want to point out that visitation can be whatever both parents agree on. So 6 months after your divorce, if you decide you want the children to spend the night with you on a night that isn’t normally one of your nights, it’s perfectly fine as long as the other parent agrees. The visitation schedules only come into play when the parents don’t agree. It’s kind of a "default" schedule to fall back on… So let’s talk about the options for this "default" schedule.
Common Visitation Elements – Summer and Holidays
I’m going to cover a couple of areas that are more or less the same across all 4 schedules. The first is summer.
During the summer, the possessory parent gets 30 days with the children, and those 30 days can be used all at once or broken into 2 visits, as long as the visits are for at least a week each.
Holidays are also handled the same way across the 4 schedules. Basically, the parents alternate major holidays. So, if the kids were with one parent over Thanksgiving, they’ll be with the other parent over Christmas.
There are provisions for Jewish and some other holidays, but they essentially work the same way. We can easily make provisions for whatever holiday is important to your family.
Standard Possession Schedule
The first of the 4 common visitation or possession schedules is standard visitation. This means that the possessory parent (or the parent that the child doesn’t normally live with) would get the child on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month. A weekend is determined by a Friday, so if the 5th Friday falls on the 31st day of the month, then that parent would have visitation that weekend.
They also have visitation on Thursday evenings – which is not necessarily overnight.
Extended Standard Possession Schedule
Extended standard visitation has the same basic structure. The possessory parent would get the child on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month and a weekend is still determined by a Friday.
The Thursday night visit would be an overnight – ending at the time school begins on Friday morning. That essentially means that the weekends now go from Thursday night to Monday morning, so you’d probably be picking the children up and dropping them off at school.
The extended visitation is closer to a 50/50 time split than the straight standard visitation.
One other thing to keep in mind about the extended schedule is that the parents have to live pretty close together and close to the school since both parents will be picking up and dropping off from there.
Wrap or 2-2-5 Possession Schedule
The wrap schedule is another common visitation schedule. In this one, Parent 1 (either the primary or possessory) has the children Monday and Tuesday. Parent 2 has the children Wednesday and Thursday. The parents alternate Friday, Saturday and Sunday possession. These exchanges usually take place at school.
Week On/Week Off Possession Schedule
The week on/week off schedule is fairly straightforward, but it’s usually recommended for older children only (i.e. teens). The primary parent and the possessory parent alternate weeks with the children. The parents just pick a date, time and location for the exchange.
Custom Possession Schedules
As I mentioned earlier, these 4 common visitation schedules work for about 95% of our clients, but we occasionally have couples that want to create their own custom schedule. It can certainly be done, but I’ll warn you that it can get complicated and it’s often expensive to draft.
Plus, in the long run the custom schedules often end up looking very much like one of the 4 common schedules we’ve already discussed.