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Holidays and the Texas Standard Possession Schedule

It is approaching the holiday season again. Be sure to pull out your Final Decree of Divorce, Order in Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship or other court order to determine when you have possession of your children for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It is important to obtain a copy of your child’s/children’s school calendar, so that you can determine when they will be released from school for the holidays. If you have a child that is not in school, then obtain a copy of the calendar for the school district that they would be attending if they were in school, and follow that calendar to determine when your holiday periods of possession begin and end.


Generally, the primary conservator will have possession of the child/children for Thanksgiving in even-numbered years. This period of possession begins on the date that the children are released from school for Thanksgiving break.


Generally, the non-primary conservator will have possession of the child/children for the front-half of the Christmas holiday in even-numbered years. The front half of Christmas begins on the day that the children are dismissed from school for Christmas holiday and ends at noon on December 28. Typically, the primary conservator has possession of the children for the back-half of Christmas in even-numbered years. The back-half of Christmas begins at noon on December 28 and ends at the time that school resumes after the Christmas holiday. This period of possession begins on the date that the children are release from school for Christmas break.


The Standard Possession Order does not include a specific provision for the Halloween holiday. This can make trick-or-treating extra spooky for divorced parents who both want to spend time with their kids on this fun holiday. If Halloween doesn’t fall during your possession this year, you can still share in the holiday fun. Try Skype or doing Facetime with your child in costume, lunch at your child’s school if they dress up for Halloween, or Halloween balloon or cookie delivery. You can also celebrate before Halloween by making a trip to the pumpkin patch, carving jack-o-lanterns, or watching age-appropriate scary movies.

If Halloween does fall during your time, make sure to send pictures of your child in costume to your ex. Hopefully they will repay the gesture on a year when they have Halloween or another important holiday or event. These small gestures can go a long way toward fostering effective co-parenting and encouraging a healthy relationship with your child’s other parent. For people who have not yet finalized their divorce, you can include provisions in your decree for special holidays that are not addressed by the Standard Possession Order, like Halloween, Easter and Fourth of July.