Fathers' Rights: Summer Possession Schedules And Maximizing Time With Your Children

Cowles & Thompson, PC


Since 1978, Cowles Thompson has offered legal representation across a broad spectrum of specialties, locally and nationally. We achieve client goals through the utmost professionalism. To us, professionalism means: character, competence, commitment, and courtesy — to our clients, to our employees, to our opposition, to our judges, and to our community.
While divorced fathers generally see their children less during the school year, summer provides a great opportunity for fathers to spend more quality time with their children.
United States Family and Matrimonial
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While divorced fathers generally see their children less during the school year (than do divorced mothers), summer provides a great opportunity for fathers to spend more quality time with their children. Though some divorce decrees contain unique possession schedules, most divorced fathers in Texas have time with their children designated pursuant to a Standard Possession Order. It is important that you consult your Divorce Decree's specific terms, which contain your unique possession plan, to determine how and when you can exercise the possession period of your children during the summer.

The Standard Possession Order in Texas

Generally speaking, a Standard Possession Order allows the possessory conservator, who is usually the father, the availability to exercise possession of the children for a period of up to 30 days during the summertime. That 30-day period can be taken in one 30-day chunk or can be split into two separate periods of possession of at least 7 days in length each. There are notice deadlines (usually April 1 of each calendar year) that apply to designating the summer possession period. However, should you miss the notice deadline, the 30-day summer possession period defaults to the month of July, starting on July 1 and ending on July 31. It is important to note that depending on when/how you designate your summer possession, the managing conservator (usually the mother) may be able to designate one weekend of her choice during a divorced father's summer possession period. Again, the specific terms of your custody plan in your divorce decree will control.

Summer Possession Period

This summer possession allows divorced fathers to spend longer periods of time with their children than during the school year. While not all fathers utilize their entire 30-day possession period during the summer for various reasons (work schedules, etc.), taking the full amount of time ordered in your divorce decree can help strengthen your bond with your children.

As a Dallas/Fort Worth Fathers' Rights attorney, having helped many divorced dads in my career, and as a divorced father myself, I have seen many ways divorced fathers spend their summer possession periods with their children. Some examples include:

  • Taking a cruise that allows you and your kids to visit multiple locations while sleeping in the same room every night on board the cruise ship.
  • Taking your kids on a road trip to visit American landmarks. If your kids are into sports, a baseball road trip is a great bonding experience to do during your summer possession. (One summer, I drove my two boys to St. Louis, Chicago, and Milwaukee to see games in each city while stopping at tourist locations like the St. Louis Arch, Sears Tower (now called Willis Tower) in Chicago, etc. along the way.)
  • Getting a Six Flags season pass or park membership is an affordable way to have a place to go to ride rides, play games, and see shows together.
  • Taking your kids to the beach or to a national park (all within Texas).
  • Going camping with your children.
  • If your children play summer sports, then simply attending each practice and game, plus developing a routine with them while in your summer possession for a longer period of time helps build memories.
  • Spending time with extended family during the summer possession, like grandma/grandpa, aunts/uncles, etc.
  • Even just staying local in DFW during the entire summer possession period allows a divorced father to spend quality time with his children.

In short, there are a bunch of ways a divorced dad can utilize his extended summer possession period to help build his relationship with his children. While child care and work schedules can be an obstacle to exercising the entire 30 days (or however long your specific summer possession period is), I strongly urge all Dallas/Fort Worth divorced dads to take full advantage of the longer time that the Texas Family Code and their unique Decree allows them during the summer.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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