If you have children and are going through a divorce in Texas, it is important to pay close attention to the possession schedule you agree to in your final decree. It is important to remember that holiday periods of possession as it is stated in your Texas divorce decree supersede your regular weekly periods of possession.   When structuring your possession schedule to best accommodate you and your children, it is best to refer to your child’s school district and what days the school district considers to be a holiday.

Thanksgiving periods of possession in Texas can be tricky. The Texas Family Code alternates Thanksgiving periods of possession between parents on an every other year basis. The Thanksgiving holiday begins the day the child is dismissed from school and ends either the night before school resumes or the day school resumes after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Most school districts in Texas now release children for the Thanksgiving holiday on the Friday preceding Thanksgiving as opposed to the Tuesday or Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving. This difference can affect the amount of time you have with your children in a given year. For instance, if you are entitled to possession the weekend preceding Thanksgiving, your spouse is entitled to the Thanksgiving holiday, and your child is dismissed from school on the Friday before Thanksgiving, your spouse’s Thanksgiving period of possession will supersede your weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday. This occurs because the weekend preceding the Thanksgiving holiday is considered part of the Thanksgiving holiday due to your child being dismissed from school the Friday before Thanksgiving.

If your child is dismissed from school on the Friday before Thanksgiving, you may want to structure your Thanksgiving holiday periods of possession for you and your spouse to begin the Monday preceding Thanksgiving so as to not miss a regular weekend period of possession.

 

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.