Holiday season always seems to sneak up on us. In the blink of an eye,
you go from carving pumpkins and picking out Halloween costumes to feasting
on turkey and stringing Christmas lights. Now with Thanksgiving just around
the corner, the holiday rush really begins. From planning the family gatherings,
grocery shopping, endless hours of cooking, and, my favorite, Christmas
shopping, I am sure everyone’s to do list is overflowing. However,
do not forget to make it a priority to check your divorce decree or current
court order regarding holiday possession. During the holidays, the last
thing a parent needs is a disagreement regarding the holiday possession.
In Texas, holiday possession generally supersedes your regular weekly possession.
The Texas Family Code provides that conservators alternate Thanksgiving
possession each year, with the Thanksgiving possession beginning at 6:00
p.m. on the day your child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving
break and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday. Many times parents
have chosen to elect the alternate periods of possession, which could
mean that the Thanksgiving holiday periods of possession begin at the
time the child’s school is dismissed for the Thanksgiving break.
If your child’s Thanksgiving break begins on the Friday before Thanksgiving,
then the parent who has the right to possession of the child for the Thanksgiving
period will have possession that weekend. It is important to note this
because it is easy to forget that the regular scheduled weekend possession
before Thanksgiving may be superseded by the holiday possession schedule.
Additionally, many times divorce decrees and court orders have provisions
that allow parents to mutually agree to possession dates and times that
differ from the possession schedule provided in the order. In the spirit
of the season, it is always encouraged that parents work with another
on possession arrangements that ultimately serve their children’s
best interest. If you come to an agreement on the holiday possession that
differs from your current court order, make sure that agreement is clear
to both sides. Nothing interrupts holiday cheer like a trip to the courthouse,
to make possession clear. Far too many times, we see clients in a frenzy
over a conflict on the breakdown of the holiday possession because they
made outside agreements and now one parent is not following that agreement.
Making these agreements in writing is encouraged because it reduces the
likelihood of confusion and misunderstanding.
So let this Thanksgiving be one that is focused on family, while making
the center of that focus your child. Remember, working out differences
peacefully and amicably benefits everyone. The biggest recipient of that
benefit being your child. Gobble Gobble! Happy Thanksgiving!