What Is a Possession and Access Order in Texas?

In Texas, a Possession and Access Order is a court order issued by the family courts.  This court order governs the rights to visitation with the child by the non-custodial parent or another adult.

Parent Visitation Rights

Possession refers to the portion of the court order that covers the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent.  In a standard order, the non-custodial parent's visitation schedule is determined by statute.

In a standard possess and access order, when parents reside 100 miles or less apart from each other, the non-custodial parent's visitation is on the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month from 6 P.M. Friday until 6 P.M. Sunday.  Also, the order can provide for extended visitation to include every Thursday during the school year between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

In the situation where the parents live more than 100 miles apart, the non-custodial parent may select between either the first, third, and fifth-weekend schedule noted above or a single weekend of their choosing each month.  However, the non-custodial parent must meet the notification requirements.


Statute predetermines Holiday visitation schedules.  When parents are residing within 100 miles of each other, the non-custodial parent will receive visitation rights during spring break during alternating years.  In situations were the parent live 100 miles or more apart, the custodial parent will have visitation every spring break.

During summer breaks, the non-custodial parents are granted 42 days of visitation. There are two options that the non-custodial parent can elect.  The non-custodial parent can exercise their visitation from June 15 to July 27 of each year.  Alternatively, the non-custodial parent can elect to break the visitation up into two segments.  If they break it up into two visits, they get to choose the dates as long as they met the requirements for notification to the custodial parent.

In a "Standard Possession and Access Order," the non-custodial parent will have visitation during alternating years for the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.  The statute requires this as well as special visitation for the child's birthday, Mother's Day, and Father's Day.

Possession and Access

Possession and Access

Finally, the "access" portion of the order set out the type contact that non-custodial parent can have with their child.  The statute provides that the order can set forth times when the non-custodial parent can call or text to the child.  It also provides for communication via e-mail or other methods.  In today's electronic world additional methods of communication can help maintain the parent-child relationship.

The "Standard Possession and Access Order" is typically the default order that most court will initially consider.   First, the law does allow for the parents to negotiate and agree to their visitation arrangement.  Secondly, if the court determines that the standard possession and access order nor the agreed upon negotiated arrangement is not in the best interest of the child, then the judge may issue a non-standard order.

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If you need assistance understanding a possession and access order or assistance with preparing a negotiated visitation, schedule call or text America Family Law Center.

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