What are Possession Orders in Texas?

Navigating the complex world of child custody and visitation can be overwhelming for parents facing separation or divorce. Amidst the emotional turmoil, understanding Texas possession orders is crucial to getting the best outcome for both parents and their children. 

What are Texas possession orders, and how might they impact you? Read in for information about the various types of possession orders and their implications.

A possession order is a visitation order

A possession order in Texas is what most states simply call a visitation or custody order. It lays out the times when the non-custodial parent will have visitation with their child. It's necessary to make sure both parents play an active role in their child's life, bonding with them and participating in their upbringing.

4 types of Texas possession orders

In Texas, possession orders determine the custody and visitation arrangements for parents and their children. There are four primary types of possession orders: Standard Possession Order (SPO), Modified Possession Order, Supervised Possession Order, and Possession Order for Children Under Three.

Each type has specific guidelines and conditions based on the child's age and the parents' circumstances.


The Standard Possession Order (SPO) is the most common type of possession order in Texas. It is typically applied when both parents have joint managing conservatorship and agree on when the child should be with each parent.

If the parents don't agree, the SPO outlines a detailed schedule for visitation, including weekends, holidays, and school breaks. In general, the non-custodial parent has possession of the child on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month as well as specific holidays and extended time during the summer.


A Modified Possession Order is used when the court determines that the standard schedule is not appropriate for a family. This may be due to factors such as the parents' work schedules, the child's needs, or the distance between the parents' residences.

In this case, the court will create a custom possession schedule that better accommodates the specific circumstances of the family.


A Supervised Possession Order is issued when the court believes that unsupervised visitation may pose a risk to the child's safety or well-being. In these situations, the court requires that a neutral third party, such as a relative, friend, or professional supervisor, be present during the non-custodial parent's visitations. 

The supervised visits may take place at a designated location, such as a supervised visitation center.

For children under three years old

Texas law recognizes that young children may have different needs than older children when it comes to possession schedules. For children under three years old, the court may create a specific possession schedule tailored to the child's developmental needs and the parents' abilities. This may include more frequent but shorter visits, gradually transitioning to a standard or modified possession order as the child gets older.

FAQ about possession orders in Texas

Who can help me get one?

To obtain a possession order, it is advisable for a parent to consult with a family law attorney who specializes in child custody and visitation matters. An experienced attorney can help guide the parent through the legal process, provide advice on their rights and responsibilities, and represent them in court if necessary.

Can I create my own possession owner?

While parents can attempt to create their own possession order, it may not be in their best interest or the best interest of the child. Navigating the legal system and understanding the specific requirements of a legally binding possession order can be challenging without professional assistance. An improperly prepared order might not be enforceable by the court, leading to potential disputes and complications.

Hello Divorce strives to help divorcing couples ease through this life change as easily as possible. For more information about child custody and divorce in Texas, we suggest these resources:

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Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.