What to Know about Summer Vacation and Texas Child Custody Laws

Child with parent on beach during summer visitation

Summer is here in the great state of Texas, and while vacation may look a little different this year, there is still plenty of fun to be had and memories to be made. Texas child custody laws can be complex and confusing, and both parent and child would rather spend quality time together than attempt to navigate summer visitation schedules and parental disagreements. By understanding Texas child custody laws, parents can better prepare for and plan a memorable summer for their family.

What is Conservatorship?

Texas law calls the parental relationship of parents and/or guardians of a child or children conservatorship. In Texas, a parent can be either a managing conservator or a possessory conservator. The title the parent holds helps dictate his or her visitation schedule – including holiday breaks and summer vacation. The managing conservator designates the primary residence of the child, and the child lives the majority of the year with this parent. The managing conservator is responsible for the normal and daily care of the child. A possessory conservator or non-custodial parent has parental rights and access to the child as outlined in a court-mandated schedule, including a predetermined summer visitation schedule.

Summer Vacation Scheduling  

Summer is an opportune time to co-parent and plan trips and other activities for children. Understandably, joint decision-making is not always an option for unmarried parents; however, regardless of disagreements, Texas law grants extended summer possession to possessory conservators.


The first consideration when determining summer visitation schedules is the physical difference between parents. When co-parents reside within 100 miles of each other, in order to designate extended summer possession the possessory conservator must provide written notice to the managing conservator by April 1st that details the dates he or she has chosen for the extended visit. If the possessory conservator is unable to provide written notice by April 1st, they are automatically granted 30-day extended summer possession from July 1st to July 31st. It’s important for possessory conservators to establish a summer plan and provide written documents in a timely manner to reduce any surprises that may interfere with plans or schedules. Additionally, a managing conservator may request a one-weekend visitation during the other parent’s extended summer visitation as long as they provide written notice by April 15th.


When co-parents reside more than 100 miles from each other, the possessory conservator may request up to 42 days of extended summer visitation. Given the physical distance, the non-custodial parent may divide their extended visitation in two increments. Possessory conservators must also provide written notice for extended summer visitation within the same time frames mentioned above.

Brazoria County Child Custody Lawyers

Children look forward to summer vacation for many reasons, including quality time with parents and other family members. For unmarried parents, summer visitation scheduling issues can be full of emotions and stress. Depending on a parent’s location, the precious time you so look forward to can be tainted with fights and even complex legal battles. Parents and children both deserve quality time together without co-parenting struggles. The Brazoria county child custody lawyers at Terry & Roberts are dedicated to helping Texas families. The legal team of Terry & Roberts is compassionate and experienced in handling sensitive family law matters so parents can focus their time and energy on what’s most important – their children. If you would like to speak with a skilled Texas child custody lawyer or have questions regarding your parental rights, contact us today.


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