Devising a Fair & Workable Child Custody Holiday Schedule in Your Parenting Plan

Holiday schedules, like a possession schedule for non-holiday periods, can vary a great deal depending upon your and your family’s circumstances. That is the nice part about child custody cases in Texas- you and your co-parent can create orders that can vary a great deal depending upon your family’s needs. You and your co-parent have no requirement to follow the possession schedules laid out in the Texas Family Code. If that is what you choose to do, there is nothing wrong with that. However, there is no requirement to follow the Code’s language. A judge is not going to force themselves into your case for this reason.

Instead, you and your co-parent will have ample opportunity to actively negotiate the relevant issues related to child custody. Most child custody cases last three to four months in duration. Yours may not last this long. Yours may be even shorter. However, most family law cases involving child custody tend to last about this long. What you can do during this time is pretty significant. You can spend the time arguing with your co-parent over petty issues, or you can use it productively to address the most significant problems in your case. The choice is yours, and only you can control your actions and emotions.

Understanding Standard Possession Orders in Texas Family Law

If you and your co-parent cannot effectively use your time or reach agreements on child custody issues, you will likely have to resort to a Standard Possession Order. A Standard Possession Order is the essential, general possession schedule laid out in the Texas Family Code. You are probably familiar with a Standard Possession Order, even if you have never heard that term before. A Standard Possession Order is what most possession orders are based off on, even if the individual plan in question various from the standard charge to one extent or another.

A Standard Possession Order creates a repeatable, predictable schedule for you and your children to follow. If you have gone through a circumstance where you were not sure when your co-parent would allow you to see your children, this is an excellent benefit for you. You’re not only provided with a pre-arranged schedule ahead of time to plan your time, but you also have an enforceable court order. If your co-parent wrongfully denies you visitation, you can enforce the order in the future. It’s better to have a signed court order than an informal agreement between you and your co-parent.

Prioritizing Children’s Best Interests in Standard Possession Orders

The bottom line is that a Standard Possession Order is designed to safeguard and promote the best interests of your children. Your child’s best interests will be the central focus of a court should the case need to go in that direction. Likewise, the court will presume that you and your co-parent are each making decisions that are in the best interests of your children. This is an important distinction to draw, given that a court will not be concerned with what is in your best interests as far as being able to maximize time with your child. If spending more time with you is in the child’s best interests, then that will be reflected in the court’s orders. Otherwise, what makes you happy is not at the top of the list of considerations that a court will have.

For your purposes, you can look at standard possession order as a jumping-off point as far as beginning negotiations with your co-parent on the issue of coming up with a workable parenting schedule for the two of you to take part in together. Look at it this way- you can approach your co-parent during the negotiation phase of your child custody case with the idea that you can fall back on if you cannot figure out a more fact-specific plan that suits you in your family better.

Ah, in my years as an attorney, I have found that it is more likely than not that you and your Co-parent will be able to settle here child case outside of court. However, if that is not possible, you all may be able to avoid at least going to court by agreeing to a standard possession order if a settlement cannot be reached in the first period.

What are the standard possession orders foremost child custody cases?

We see child custody cases utilize standard possession orders when it is necessary for your child’s primary residence to be designated. For most child custody cases, a child’s primary place will need to be fixed if you and your Co-parent are not able to do so together in negotiation. The reason for this is that the primary residence of a child is crucial for determining the school your child will attend and which parent will have to pay in which parent will have to receive child support. This is in addition to many other rights and duties relevant in the conservatorships aspects of your case.

As you can see, designating the primary residence of your child is crucial and can potentially lead to your divorce or child custody case going to trial if an agreement cannot be reached. Resolving this issue is challenging because there is often little middle ground when determining the primary conservator of a child. If you are firmly opposed to paying child support, you may have to proceed to trial if no settlement can be reached.

Standard Possession Orders: The Likely Outcome in Child Custody Trials

When you go to a trial on a child custody issue, the most likely outcome is that a court will follow a standard possession order. The reason for this is that judges are reticent to deviate from a normal possession order, given that they cannot possibly know every circumstance of your case even after a one or two-day trial. In that case, a judge would likely play it safe and try to go right down the middle with a standard possession order. This could end up in a good or a bad thing for you depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case. If various aspects of your claim are particularly complex, it may be advantageous for both parties to attempt a settlement outside of the courtroom.

Even still, you and your Co-parent may be uncomfortable with the idea of deferring to a family court judge on issues like this which are fact and circumstantially sensitive. Judges operate with a gavel and not with a scalpel. This suggests that you and your co-parent are likely more capable of devising solutions for complex circumstances than the judge. Thus, the more complex your issue, the more motivated you and your co-parent should be to settle your case without the judge’s assistance.

Benefits of Negotiating with Your Co-parent

It is acceptable to proceed to trial, especially if the issues are limited to a few that you couldn’t resolve on your own. However, all things being equal, it is excellent to work out your problems with your Co-parent directly rather than relying upon an outside source to do so. I think you will find that not only your court orders will be better for your family, but you can use the opportunity to negotiate as a way to build trust and goodwill between you and your Co-parent.

In the meantime, prepare for the possibility that the court may utilize a standard possession order in your child’s custody case. The more information you can have on this subject, the better off you will be to negotiate a schedule during the school year for your child or during holiday time. With that said, let’s spend the remainder of today’s blog post going through standard possession orders for summer and holiday visitation and possession. These periods are a little more complicated than the school year, where your child’s noncustodial parent will have control under standard possession order on the first, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month.

Major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas

When it comes to the major holidays of the year, notably Thanksgiving and Christmas, you will have possession of your child for one holiday, and your Co-parent will have control for the other, when each of you has custody and for what holiday will depend upon the year. Usually, one parent will possess the other child on a particular holiday in odd years, and the other will have possession during even years. Let’s suppose that this year you would have possession of your child for Thanksgiving, and your Co-parent would have control for the Christmas period. This would change the following year where your Co-parent would have Thanksgiving, and you would have Christmas.

Holiday Division in Standard Possession Orders

Most Standard Possession Orders typically divide Christmas into two halves because it is such a long holiday. The Tavern Christmas holiday begins at 6:00 PM only that day without periods begin that parents period of possession will typically end on the day after Christmas or thereabouts. The second half of Christmas will end at 6:00 PM on the day before school is back in session. Note that under a standard position order, you will not possess the children both for Christmas and Thanksgiving in the same year.

Other important holidays are Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. An important thing to note for both of these holidays is that even if Father’s Day falls on your Co-parent’s weekend of possession, you will still be able to possess your child for the holiday that corresponds to you being a mother or father. Possession orders typically outline and explain this clearly. If they are not, you run the risk of the charges being unenforceable.

Anticipating Cultural and Religious Holidays

Another consideration for you is that depending upon your cultural or religious heritage, you may need to consider other holidays not contained in a standard possession order. Rather than risk negotiating on these holidays each year, it makes a great deal of sense for you to consider them beforehand and have them contained in your child custody orders. That way, you do not have to go back and revisit these topics to reinvent the wheel every single year. Why not think about them in advance and not have to worry about them moving forward? This is a great advantage that you could have by thinking ahead and planning how these topics influence your life.

How do summer vacations work under a standard possession order?

Another significant set of holidays to consider in a standard possession order is summer vacation. Summer vacation is the most extended period that your child will have away from school throughout the entire year. It would be best if you thought about how you want to structure summer vacation regarding the possession of your child. This is what a summer control schedule looks like under a standard possession order. If this does not sound like something which would appeal to you and your family is especially important for you to speak with an experienced family law attorney to figure out a plan that suits you and your family’s needs better period.

Summer Possession: Planning Ahead for Continuous Parenting Time

The noncustodial parent of your child will have up to 30 days of continuous possession of your child during the summer. In most cases, you must designate your choice of 30-day periods to your co-parent by April. This will give error code parents time to plan trips of their own with their children and other considerations patients. I recommend that clients have a reminder on their phones to make sure that they can update The Co-parent in time to take advantage of this long stretch of visitation.

Failing to designate your period of possession with your co-parent on time will result in the assignment of the month of July for you to possess your child. While this may align with your preferences, it’s advisable to be transparent with your co-parent regarding your intentions for spending time with your children. This way, you all will have an open line of communication with unimportant subject matter like this.

Another crucial aspect of child custody and holiday possession is that parents share birthdays, even if the birthday falls outside the parent’s usual time of possession. For example, let’s suppose that your child’s birthday does not fall on the weekend you had them. In that case, your Possession schedule would likely allow for you to have an opportunity to have dinner with them from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on their birthday. This is a relatively short period but would give you some chance to see them and share their birthday presents if you choose.

Components of a Standard Possession Order

In conclusion, these are some of the significant components of a standard possession order as they figure into year-round visitation and possession and holiday visitation and guardianship. A standard possession order is the law of the land as contained in the Texas family code. The standard possession order aims to divide time with children between you and your co-parent as fairly and equitably as possible. However, your family can opt not to follow it if you agree on alternative arrangements for possession and access.

That means that You and your Co-parent are better off being able to engage with one another. The better off you will be working on solutions to relatively complex problems involving your family. If you cannot work together and subjects like this, then it is likely that you will need to defer to a family court judge. While their solutions may not be wrong, they almost certainly will not work as well for you and your family as one created by you and your Co-parent as a team.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Child Custody Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child custody, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Child CustodyLawyersright away to protect your rights.

Our child custody lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles child custody cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, KingwoodTomballThe Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris CountyMontgomery CountyLiberty County, Chambers CountyGalveston CountyBrazoria CountyFort Bend County, and Waller County.

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