christmasMy favorite holiday of the year is officially almost here – Christmas! With schools beginning Christmas school vacations for students this week or early next week, parents should plan accordingly with their holiday possession schedule for their children. So make sure to check your children’s school calendar to know the date and time they get dismissed. If your children are not in school, then look at the school calendar for the school district you live in.

In Texas, generally the non-primary conservator will have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28 of that given year. Then the primary conservator will have possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after the Christmas school vacation. In odd-numbered years the possession periods are generally switched for the parents. This means that the primary conservator will have possession of the child beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28 of that same year, and the non-primary conservator will have possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after the Christmas school vacation. Many times we see conservators agree to ending their possession periods for the holidays on the day the child’s school regularly resumes after the Christmas school vacation. You should check your divorce decree or most current court order to see if that provision is in it.

Similar to other holidays, if you and the other parent conservator wish to make agreements regarding the possession schedule that differ from your divorce decree and/or most recent court order, you should put those agreements in writing to avoid confusion or conflict. Sometimes parents are in pending custody suits over the holidays. Some of the common questions we receive relate to confusion as to what order the parents are to follow regarding holiday possession. Unless you and the other parent have agreed otherwise, you should follow your most current court order governing the holiday possession schedule for your child (or children). For example, if you are involved in a pending suit to modify your custody arrangement and the most recent court order in place is your divorce decree, then that divorce decree will govern unless you and the other parent have come to another agreement regarding the holiday possession schedule.

We know the holidays can be a stressful time of year, but don’t let a custody dispute make it a disaster. Make sure to ask questions ahead of time so there is a clear possession schedule to follow over the holidays. Remember that this time of year can be challenging for children as well. Try to work together with the other parent to make this time of year magical and happy for your children so they can create their own family holiday memories. We hope everyone enjoys the holidays and has a Merry Christmas!