Texas parents who are trying to navigate child custody and parenting time (called “possession” in the Lone Star State) might have various disputes throughout the year. This can happen in cases where the parents are on good terms regarding co-parenting and it is especially prevalent in cases where they are accustomed to discord.
During the holidays, tensions can grow worse. This goes beyond the simple disagreement over weekend time, changing the schedule for a vacation or an event, or making an adjustment based on a parent’s work. Knowing what the law says about holiday possession can give a guideline to work from. Understanding it may reduce conflict or give the parents the foundation to achieve their goals with the child’s best interests in mind.
How state law handles holiday possession
Texas refers to the parent with primary custody as the managing conservator. The other parent is the possessory conservator. The law specifies how holiday possession is handled when the distance the parents live apart is not a factor. The holiday template based on the law will supersede periods of possession that come up on weekends or Thursdays.
For the Christmas holiday, a possessory conservator will have the child in the even-numbered years beginning at 6 p.m. the day school is dismissed and extend through noon, Dec. 28. In odd numbered years, that parent will have the child from noon on Dec. 28 through 6 p.m. the day before school starts in the new year. It is the opposite for the managing conservator.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, the possessory conservator will have the child in odd-numbered years starting at 6 p.m. the day before the holiday through 6 p.m. on the Sunday after the holiday. The managing conservator will have the child during that time in even-numbered years.
Parents should think about their options and have help with holiday possession
Although this is relatively straightforward, not all co-parenting relationships are that simple. The law specifically mentions Christmas and Thanksgiving, but people might celebrate other holidays based on religious preferences and other factors.
The attempts at coordination when outside family and friends may be coming, parties are being planned and gifts are to be exchanged can make an already challenging situation worse. Parents might put differences aside for the good of the child, but in some instances, there are still obstacles. There may be a negotiated solution such as making reasonable tradeoffs. When crafting a plan or trying to navigate differences, it is important to have professional help with family law and to try to formulate an agreeable result.