The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and creating lasting memories with loved ones. However, for families navigating the complexities of divorce or separation, the holidays can pose unique challenges, especially when it comes to determining possession schedules. Under the Texas Family Code, specific guidelines govern holiday possession schedules to ensure a fair and consistent approach for families in transition.

The Basics

The Texas Family Code outlines a standard possession order that addresses the possession and access rights of noncustodial parents. When it comes to holidays, section 153.314 of the Texas Family Code specifically includes provisions for both the managing conservator (the primary parent) and the possessory conservator (the non-primary parent). The holidays specifically named in this section are Christmas, Thanksgiving, the child’s birthday, Father’s Day, and Mother’s day.

Thanksgiving Break

Under the code, Thanksgiving break is given to the non-primary parent on odd-numbered years beginning at 6 p.m. the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday. Inversely, on even-numbered years the primary receives this possession time.

Christmas Break

Christmas possession is similar to Thanksgiving possession but is flipped. Meaning that the parent who receives Thanksgiving Day will not receive Christmas in the same year. However unlike Thanksgiving break, the Christmas possession schedule is divided into two parts due to the length of the break. In even-numbered years, the non-primary parent has possession from the day school is dismissed for the holiday until noon on December 28th. The primary parent has possession from noon on December 28th, until school resumes after the break. Also like Thanksgiving, the parent who actually receives Christmas flips depending on if it is an odd or even-numbered year.

Child’s Birthday

For the child’s birthday the family code states that the parent that is not entitled to possession of the child on their birthday shall have possession of the child starting at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. the same day. This requires that the parent pick up the child from the residence of the parent who is entitled to the possession as well as return them.

Father’s Day and Mother’s Day

Father’s Day and Mother’s work very much how you would expect them to. Father’s shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday before Father’s Day until Father’s Day at 6 p.m. The same goes for mothers on Mother’s Day weekend.

While the Texas Family Code provides a framework for holiday possession schedules, it’s important for parents to maintain open communication and be flexible when necessary. Unforeseen circumstances may arise, and a cooperative attitude can go a long way in ensuring a positive holiday experience for your child.