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Holiday Standard Possession Order and Parenting Time in Texas

December 8, 2020

In this video, Dallas family law attorney Caroline Galloway explains how divorced parents share holidays in Texas. She offers tips and strategies for how co-parents can work together to make the holidays a more joyful and less stressful time of the year.

To learn more about Holiday Standard Possessions in Texas, please visit:



My name is Caroline Galloway. And I am a family law attorney at Goranson Bain Ausley. Today, I will be discussing ways in which parents can share their time during the holiday season and how they can ensure that the child has a joyous holiday season. We often hear numerous concerns from our clients about the holiday season, they ask us, when will I see my child? How will I share parenting time with my co-parent? And how do I help my child adjust to that holiday season now that we’re divorced?

At Goranson Bain Ausley our goal is to help you create a roadmap to ensure that your child has a joyous holiday season and a seamless transitions between houses. There are many ways you can share a possession of your child during the holiday season. In Texas, one way to share possession is following the Standard Possession Order. Under the Standard Possession Order, parents rotate Thanksgiving and winter break. If you have Thanksgiving with your child in any given year then you have the second half of winter break. If you do not have your child in Thanksgiving that year then you will have your child for the first half of winter break. Parents rotate years of Thanksgiving and they rotate throughout the beginning and end of winter break.

There are many ways to share parenting time during the holiday season, we understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all, and we work creatively to find a schedule that fits your child’s needs and the needs of your co-parent as well. For example, recently, I worked with a client that really did not want to spend half of the break away from their child, so we made sure to include in their order that they followed the regular schedule throughout the break, but then they exchanged the child on the day before Christmas and then the day after Christmas splitting the time evenly. So one parent had the day before Christmas and half of Christmas day, and the other parent had the evening of Christmas and the day after Christmas as well.

And being able to work creatively for our families, we can make sure that traditions are kept similar but also the parents are able to celebrate with their child and they’re not missing treasured memories. We understand that the holiday season can be stressful particularly if you recently were divorced or you are learning to co-parent, there are things you can do though, proactively to ensure that you avoid some of those headaches. Some of the things you can do to avoid headaches for yourself and your child during the holiday season are first review, your possession schedule. It’s important for you to understand and know what dates you will have your child and what dates your co-parent will have their child. Oftentimes, we hear clients express frustrations when one parent cleaned something during a period of possession for the other parent.

Another thing you can do is ensure that your co-parent understands the holiday possession schedule, this will prevent any scheduling, mishaps, where somebody assumed the child was with them during the time that they are not. Finally, discuss happy transitions. Plan with your co-parent ways that a transition between one house to the other is happy for your child. Prepare your child, help them understand that going through their other parent’s house is a happy moment and you are not sad that they are leaving. We realized that after divorce or after just the end of a relationship that this is a season of hurt, but as much as you can put your child first and help them understand that they should be happy to see their parent, and they should not be guilty for leaving you, that this will help them create happy memories during the holiday season and treasure those moments with each of their parents.

Our clients often ask me how they can make the holiday season better for their child after their divorce? Here are three ways that you can improve the season for your child. First, plan a new tradition. This doesn’t have to be extravagant but it’s something for your child to treasure for their new normal. Second plan events for yourself. Be happy while your child is away and know that they are experiencing happy memories with their co-parent. Finally, normalize the new for your child. Everybody is changing and adjusting, but as much as you can help your child feel that the new is awesome normal will help them enjoy the season as well.

We want you to know that you can create a joyful season for your child following divorce or a new co-parenting relationship. There are ways to minimize stress on yourself and your children. Be sure to create a clear roadmap and make sure that both of you and your co-parent understand the schedule for the holiday season.

If you have questions about child custody, the Standard Possession Order, or want to learn ways that you can create a clearer roadmap in your possession order for the holiday season, please reach out to Caroline Galloway at 214-373-7676 to discuss your options.

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