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Specialty tag(s): Child Custody
It’s Mother’s Day but it’s Dad’s Weekend – Who Gets the Kids?
Chandler Rice Winslow | April 30, 2022
With Mother’s Day on the horizon, you might be wondering how and when you will celebrate Mother’s Day with your children and loved ones. A clear schedule is a critical foundation to your happy holiday. We always recommend co-parents communicate several weeks in advance of each holiday to set expectations and communicate schedules. Remember, even if pursuant to your court order, you will have your children over Mother’s Day weekend, consider how you can help your children honor the various mother figures within their village.
Can Holidays, Like Mother’s Day, Affect Texas Child Custody Parenting Schedules?
The short answer: yes.
Holidays can be confusing when it comes to the Standard Possession Order. Under the Texas Family Code, there are other certain “Holiday” periods of possession that will trump normal possession occurring during a weekend or a Thursday during the school year. These overriding holidays include, at minimum, the following possession periods: Christmas, Thanksgiving, a child’s birthday, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. Many parents designate other important family or religious events as holiday periods of possession, too.
With that, holidays, like Mother’s Day, supersede the regular possession schedule. For example, if a co-parent has possession of the children on the third weekend of each month, but Mother’s Day falls on the third weekend of a month, then the Mother’s Day holiday possession takes priority–and the children spend the weekend with their Mother. In some instances, this can result in a parent having the children for two weekends in a row, or an extended period of time. Discuss these schedule changes with your children so they are prepared for this variance in the schedule.
So, Who Gets the Kids During a Texas Standard Possession Order Schedule on Mother’s Day?
Pursuant to the Texas Standard Possession Order, if you are a mom, you likely are entitled to possession of your children beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day. You then get to celebrate with your children until 6:00 p.m. on Mother’s Day. Be sure to remember that the Standard Possession order requires you to pick-up the children from your co-parent if you are not otherwise entitled to possession of your children when Mother’s Day weekend begins or ends.
Do You Have to Go to Court to Modify a Possession Schedule for Mother’s Day?
Parents can always agree to modify their possession schedules without going to Court. At Goranson Bain Ausley, we recommend that you document it in writing if you and your co-parent agree to modify your parenting schedule. This can be as simple as a text message that says, “Thank you again for agreeing to trade me weekends – I know the kids really appreciate being able to celebrate Mother’s Day with me, and their grandparents.”
If you and your co-parent do not agree to modify your possession schedule, you either need to file a modification suit with the Court to request a change in your schedule or continue to follow your court order. We do not recommend you stop following your possession schedule if you have not reached an agreement with your co-parent or have not obtained a new order from the Court.
If you do decide to pursue a modification of your possession schedule, be sure to consult with a child custody and visitation attorney in Texas to determine if the facts in your case can establish there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances.
Possession Scheduling Ideas for Mother’s Day
- Co-Parents Can Split the Weekend, and Mom Gets the Day
Even if your court order contains a Standard Possession schedule, you and your co-parent can agree to include an alternate schedule in your court order. Creative schedules help ensure that children do not feel torn during these special days and get to celebrate with the many people that love them.
One option is for parents to split the weekend of Mother’s Day. For example, in even years, Parent A has possession of the children from the time they are dismissed from school until Saturday at 6:00 pm. Then Parent B has possession of the children from Saturday at 6:00pm until school resumes. In odd years, the parents trade who has the children for the first half of the weekend. This type of schedule is great for families with same-sex parents, grandmothers, stepmothers, or just many loving mother figures that might wish to have a celebration each year.
- Co-Parents Can Share the Day
Another option for an alternate Mother’s Day schedule is for co-parents to share possession of the children specifically on Mother’s Day Sunday. For example, in even years, Parent A has possession of the children beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Mother’s Day Sunday. Then Parent B has possession of the children beginning at 1:00 p.m. on that same day. This type of schedule ensures that each parent gets to have a special meal with their children on this holiday, without disrupting their normal weekend schedule.
Be a Great Co-Parent!
If you are not a Mother, or your co-parent is a Mother, this is a great time to take your children to the store to help them find a card or small gift to honor their mom on this coming holiday! Even if your relationship as co-parents is new, we encourage you to use this time to show your children an example of great co-parenting.
Finally, compromise is key when you are facing any change in your schedule. Holidays are sweet times where you can form memories with your children, focus on the small moments and do not let a change in your schedule stand in the way of your opportunity to form lasting memories.
As a child-centered family lawyer, Chandler Winslow is sought after for solving highly contested custody issues. Chandler is knowledgeable about the unique circumstances involved with parents with special needs children, including ADHD, Autism, and learning difficulties. She has represented clients in all aspects of cases involving Child Protective Services (CPS) and has served children as a Guardian ad Litem/Attorney ad Litem. Chandler has been named D Magazine Best Lawyers Under 40 for 2022.
If you have any questions about holiday possession schedules or if you’re interested in modifying a child custody or visitation agreement in Texas, contact us today! The trusted family law attorneys at Goranson Bain Ausley are here to help.