During the holiday season, it is easy for Texas parents who have parted ways as a couple to feel that they are missing something if they are not with their children during these special occasions. While many family law cases are contentious, it is preferable for parents to put their differences aside – if possible and safe – and to ensure the child has sufficient time with the other parent during the holidays and on special occasions. Knowing how the Lone Star State handles parenting time as part of the Standard Possession Order (SPO) in these circumstances is imperative to have a fair outcome.
Holidays and special occasions under the Standard Possession Order
With or without an agreement as to how the child will be shared over the holidays, it is likely to be an acrimonious issue at some point. To avoid it becoming a problem, the parents should know what the SPO says about holidays as well as special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the child’s birthday. For Thanksgiving, it is based on odd and even-numbered years. The custodial parent will have the child during even-numbered years; the non-custodial parent during odd-numbered years.
Christmas and the winter break are slightly different. There are two separate parts. Part one will be from the last day of school through Dec. 26 for orders made before June 15, 2007 and Dec. 28 for orders after that date. Part two is from the final day of part one until 6:00 p.m. the day before school restarts. The custodial parent has the child for part one in odd-numbered years; the second part in even-numbered years. In even-numbered years, it is the opposite with the non-custodial parent having the child. The parent who does not have possession on the child’s birthday can pick the child up for two hours that day between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The parents can have the child on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day even if they are not in possession that day.
Having advice for complex family law issues is vital
Although it may be difficult to foster a positive relationship with the other parent, especially after a divorce, it is in the child’s interests to have that positive time with both parents. This will include sharing what the parents hope will be good and lasting memories of holidays. If possible, it might even be beneficial for the parents to put their differences aside and both be present at these events. Still, with these aspects of family law, child custody and possession, disputes are common. To be fully prepared and to have the guidelines followed, having professional help is a useful step.