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to note this because it is easy to forget that the regular scheduled weekend possession before Thanksgiving may be superseded by the holiday possession schedule.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!