While kids eagerly anticipate summer vacation, their parents often dread the months away from the regular school schedule. This can be especially true for parents who are separated or divorced

McKinney family lawyers know that advance planning can make all the difference. With a well-thought-out visitation plan, parents and children know what to anticipate and can make the most of summer opportunities. While parents may be able to develop a plan together, often it can be helpful to have a dedicated family lawyer negotiate an arrangement that is fair to both parents. 

Arrangements Under a Standard Possessory Order

Summer visitation plans depend in part on whether a standard possessory visitation order is place. When a parent has possessory conservatorship rather than custody, the Texas rules for a standard possessory order require the non-custodial parent to designate the dates of summer possession by April 1. Meanwhile, parents with custody are expected to make any requests for a weekend inside the extended summer possession by April 15. McKinney family lawyers know those are not realistic deadlines in many cases, particularly with the uncertainties stemming from the COVID pandemic. 

Therefore, by this point in the year, many parents will not have selected the dates they want visitation with their children, so the law specifies that the non-custodial parent will have the child from July 1 through July 31, and the custodial parent loses the chance to have the child one weekend out of the extended possession period.

However, the standard order also specifies that a parent may have possession whenever both parents reach an agreement on visitation. Therefore, parents can establish their own arrangements even when a standard possession order is in place, so long as the plan is in the child’s best interest. 

Suggestions for Negotiating a Visitation Plan

When parents cannot amicably arrange a summer visitation plan on their own, McKinney family lawyers can help them sort through priorities and arrive at a schedule that meets their goals. Some factors to consider include: 

  • Holidays – 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day
  • Family events such as reunions, weddings, gatherings with grandparents
  • Weather patterns
  • Children’s schedules for sporting events, summer camps, etc. 
  • Travel preferences (One long trip? Day outings? Extended weekends?)

It is a good idea for each party to list the things they want and then rank them in order of priority. One parent may assume the other has certain plans or preferences that are no longer valid, so the more thorough the list, the better chance that both parents’ wishes can be accommodated in the same plan.  

McKinney Family Lawyers Can Help Avoid Animosity Over Vacation Plans

Negotiating an agreement takes dedicated focus and experience, even when both parties are on good terms. When devising a summer visitation plan, you can take animosity out of the equation when you work with experienced McKinney family lawyers. To learn how a family law attorney could help you focus your priorities and reach a workable agreement regarding visitation or other parenting issues, contact us today for a confidential consultation.