trick or treatTrick-or-treating is a Halloween tradition in many households; a tradition where lasting memories are created between parents and their children. Children look forward to dressing up as their favorite princess or superhero, their favorite ghost or ghoul, or their favorite monster or goblin; parents look forward to ever-lasting pictures and memories.

What happens when a divorce or separation gets in the middle of Halloween fun?

Nothing, unless you let it.

This year Halloween falls on the 5th weekend of the month.  Parents who have possession of their children pursuant to a Standard Possession Order will have their children on Halloween.  After this year, Halloween will not be part of the Standard Possession Order periods of possession until Thursday, October 31, 2019.  The fact of the matter is that it should not matter whose “weekend” it is.  Do not make Halloween about whose weekend it is; make it about the children’s experiences.

Halloween is about the children. Parents should not compete when it comes to purchasing the children’s costumes; it is their costume, let them pick it.  The children get to choose their costumes; they should not have to choose which parent they will spend Halloween with.   Parents should work together to set the children’s expectations as to who they will go trick-or treating with – one parent, both parents or no parent [because they are going with their friends].

While it is understandable that it may be impractical to share all Halloween activities or go trick-or-treating together, it is not impractical for each parent to enjoy the children in their costumes.

Remember, Halloween is not a “standard” holiday found in a Standard Possession Order, and unless otherwise agreed, it typically is not in any order. With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, parents can set the tone for their co-parenting relationship through the holidays during Halloween. Parents can mutually agree to Halloween plans that may be better than any child’s favorite candy.  Parents have the opportunity to set aside the “tricks” on the other parent, and “treat” their children to a full day of Halloween fun.

Print:
Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
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.