When divorced or separated parents share custody or visitation, they must learn how to share their child’s time. However, it can be challenging to do this during the holiday season. By having a set custody schedule in place, parents can ensure their children can spend the holidays with both parents.
The Standard Possession Order
In Texas, custody orders refer to “parenting time” as access and possession. Possession is the time a parent spends with a child, and access is the ability to interact with a child through phone, text, or other resources, and access to the child’s school and medical records.
When custody matters are decided, the court will issue a custody order that states when each parent has the right to spend time with their child. In most cases, a standard possession order (SPO) will be issued. The SPO is a schedule that states when a parent has possession of their child. It is used if the child is the age of three years or older, and it puts the child’s best interests first.
Although the SPO has guidelines on how parents will share custody and visitation of their child on a daily basis, it also states how parents share time during:
- Winter Holidays
- Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
- Spring Break
Sharing Custody During the Winter Holiday
Separated parents are often concerned about sharing custody during the holidays. Fortunately, the SPO offers a fair solution for each parent to spend time with their child. For the winter holiday season, the SPO orders custody to be split into two parts:
- Part One: From the day school is dismissed for winter vacation until noon on December 26th.
- Part Two: From noon on December 26th until 6 p.m. on the day before winter vacation ends.
- In both cases, if your custody order was signed after June 15th, 2007, the date lands on December 28th.
Both parents will switch off custody during these two times every other year. The SPO orders the following:
- Odd-numbered years:
- The custodial parent spends the holiday season with their child during part one.
- The noncustodial parent spends the holiday season with their child during part two.
- Even-numbered years:
- The noncustodial parent spends the holiday season with their child during part one.
- The custodial parent spends the holiday season with their child during part two.
While the SPO helps set a base schedule for holidays, parents do not always have to follow the guideline exactly. If they want to, separated or divorced parents can create their own custody schedule as long as they both willingly agree to it. However, if they cannot come to an agreement, they will need to follow the SPO.
If you are dealing with a custody matter, call the The Law Office of Rebecca J. Carrillo’s San Antonio child custody lawyers today at (210) 405-6623.