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Jewish Holiday Guide for Texas Possession Schedules

Lerrin Reinecke | April 14, 2022

Jewish holidays often fall in the middle of the week when children are in school, so tailoring a possession schedule to spend Jewish holidays with both parents while not disrupting the children’s usual schedule can be challenging.

There should be language in your Order that states that the Jewish holiday possession supersedes regular possession, but some holidays might conflict with standard holiday possession (if Hanukkah falls over Winter Break or if Passover occurs during Spring Break, for example). It is possible to account for that, while still following a possession schedule that allows both parents meaningful time on important holidays.

Below are some examples that might work for your family. Even if the schedule you had in mind is not included below, the attorneys at Goranson Bain Ausley can help you tailor a Jewish holiday possession schedule around holidays you observe and your family traditions.

Possession Schedule with Two Jewish Parents

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s most sacred days. This high holiday typically occurs during the month of September, however, there are times when it occurs in October. With the celebration including singing songs and dipping apples in honey, it’s a holiday ripe for making memories with your children.

  • First Night in Even-Numbered Years – MOTHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Rosh Hashanah begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • First Night in Odd-Numbered Years – FATHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Rosh Hashanah begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.

Yom Kippur

With Yom Kippur being one of the most important and holiest days of the year, it is understandable that Jewish parents would want to have possession of their children around the holiday. Given its proximity to Rosh Hashanah, the possession schedule is often flipped between parents to allow the children to spend similar amounts of quality time with each parent.

  • Even-Numbered Years – FATHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Yom Kipper begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • Odd-Numbered Years – MOTHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Yom Kipper begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.

Sukkot

Sukkot is a weeklong holiday focused on thankfulness for the necessities of life, such as food and shelter. The holiday can involve song, dance, and the building of a sukkah. Again, because it falls only five days after Yom Kippur, the possession schedule for Sukkot alternates once again to the other parent.

  • First Night in Even-Numbered Years – MOTHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Sukkot begins and ending at 4:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • First Night in Odd-Numbered Years – FATHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Sukkot begins and ending at 4:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • Second Night in Even-Numbered Years – FATHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the second day of Sukkot and ending at 4:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • Second Night in Odd-Numbered Years – MOTHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the second day of Sukkot ends and ending at 4:00 p.m. on the following day.

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah is a joyous holiday that celebrates the love of Torah and its studying. It is celebrated by taking Torah scrolls out of the ark in synagogue and spending the evening dancing and singing. It’s a holiday where synagogue members can celebrate in community together, which parents may want their children to attend.

  • Simchat Torah in Even-Numbered Years – FATHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Simchat Torah begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • Simchat Torah in Odd-Numbered Years – MOTHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Simchat Torah begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.

Hannukah

Hannukah is a holiday that centers around coming together as family and is especially fun for children. Children sing songs, open gifts, and spin dreidels. These memories with your children are particularly treasured, and parents are often focused on their possession schedule during this time. Because of this, the Hanukkah schedule is split slightly differently than other holidays, allowing children time with both parents during the holiday every year. 

  • Even-Numbered Years – MOTHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Hanukkah begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day. FATHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the fourth night of Hanukkah and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • Odd-Numbered Years – FATHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Hanukkah begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day. MOTHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the fourth night of Hanukkah and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.

Purim

On Purim, Jewish people celebrate with food, gifts, and costumes. Traditionally, costumes and masks are worn to synagogue, school, and carnivals on Purim. It is one of the more joyous Jewish holidays; parents and children alike have fun with family and their community. 

  • Even-Numbered Years – MOTHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Purim begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • Odd-Numbered Years – FATHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. the day Purim begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. on the following day.

Passover

Another significant holiday, Passover, takes place in the spring and lasts for eight nights, although some families will take time off around the holiday for a longer vacation. The Seder is one of the highlights of the holiday, with people coming together for a large group dinner made with seven symbolic foods and featuring the reading of the Haggadah with prayers, songs, and toasts between each course. Because this holiday is so centered around family, parents typically alternate days of possession during the holiday.

  • First Seder in Even-Numbered Years – MOTHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day of the first Passover Seder and ending at 4:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • First Seder in Odd-Numbered Years – FATHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day of the first Passover Seder and ending at 4:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • Second Seder in Even-Numbered Years – FATHER shall have possession of the children in even-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day of the second Passover Seder and ending at 4:00 p.m. on the following day.
  • Second Seder in Odd-Numbered Years – MOTHER shall have possession of the children in odd-numbered years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day of the second Passover Seder and ending at 4:00 p.m. on the following day.

It is important for the Possession Order to note that if any of the Jewish Holidays set forth above conflict with the Holidays Unaffected by Distance, the Jewish Holiday shall govern and supersede all other possession.

Holidays with One Jewish Parent

Creating a possession schedule in which only one parent observes Jewish holidays is much more straightforward, and the observant parent can pick which holidays to include in the Final Decree. The possession schedule typically goes as follows, but other holidays can be included:

Notwithstanding the periods of possession ORDERED for FATHER, it is expressly ORDERED that MOTHER shall have a superior right of possession of the children for Jewish religious holidays as follows:

  • Rosh Hashanah – In all years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on the day Rosh Hashanah begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. the following day.
  • Yom Kippur – In all years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on of the day Yom Kippur begins and ending at 8:00 p.m. the following day.
  • Hanukkah – In all years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on first night of Hanukkah and ending at 8:00 p.m. the following day.
  • Passover – In all years beginning at 4:00 p.m. on of the first day of Passover and ending at 4:00 p.m. two days later.

Summary

Splitting holidays with your children may not feel like the ideal situation, especially when many holidays have cultural and religious significance. However, with some compromise, you and your coparent can have a possession schedule that allows your children to have meaningful time with each parent and their extended family. While the above are examples of Jewish holiday possession schedules, you and your coparent have the option to make changes that work for your family. Goranson Bain Ausley is here to help you create a possession schedule that allows for quality Jewish holiday time with your children, even after divorce.

Learn More

Lerrin Reinecke practices family law with a deep recognition that the choice of a lawyer is one of the most important decisions a client will make, and it affects every step moving forward. She knows what is at stake in family law cases and guides clients toward resolutions that positively set the stage for the future.

Lerrin is trained in collaborative law and focuses on reaching out-of-court settlements whenever possible; however, she is a skilled litigator who will take cases to court if necessary. With each case, Lerrin works with clients and not just for them, striving to achieve their most important goals. To learn more about possession schedules during holidays, please contact Lerrin Reinecke at 214-373-7676.

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