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Is there a better way to handle parenting time for spring break?

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Children and Divorce, Parenting Plans |

We’re coming up on spring break, which if you’re going by the letter of the law in the Texas Family Code, is an all-or-nothing prospect for divorced parents.

According to Section 153 of the Texas Family Code, which sets guidelines for the Standard Possession Order, parents alternate years, depending on whether the parent is designated the managing conservator or the possessory conservator.

It specifically reads, for parents who are 100 miles or less apart, “the possessory conservator shall have possession in even-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years.”

If the parents are more than 100 miles apart, then the possessory conservator gets the children every year.

In an article we previously wrote on the subject, we pointed out that what’s in the Texas Family Code might not necessarily work for all parents. For instance, “Most children in divorce go to schools in the same school district, but it’s possible that one child goes to a private school that operates under a slightly different spring break schedule than the child or children who attend public schools.”

It also might be important for children not to be away from one parent or the other for an extended period of time, and it’s likely that parents considering a 2-2-3 schedule to guide parenting time in the school year wouldn’t want to break that up with a full 10 days of spring break for one parent or the other.

As we like to emphasize, parents who are negotiating their divorce decree or a modification to that decree don’t have to abide by the standard orders if that’s not what works best for them.

One alternative is to divide spring break each year. Wednesday at noon is a fair dividing point between the first five days and the last five days of the 10-day spring break period, and parents could either alternate which halves they get or have it uniform each year. That still allows each parent to plan and take a trip if they so choose, but it also ensures that the children won’t be more than five days apart from either parent.

It’s also possible, in a 2-2-3 situation, that parents just let that schedule run through spring break. While that would certainly put a spring break trip on pause, that might be a preferable arrangement for some parents who aren’t as vacation-minded.

It’s also possible to tie spring break in with some other time of the year where a week would be important — perhaps tied to the 4th of July or even the winter break, though that’s another time of year that challenges parents new to divorce.

The two most important things in any spring break conversations, of course, are to make sure that you and your ex are communicating any changes in plans clearly and that you’re keeping the needs of the children top of mind. It’s possible (and sometimes the absolute best thing) to be flexible if one parent wants to vary from what’s in the decree in order to give their kids a fantastic spring break experience.

If you’re looking to create a decree or modify one that ventures from the usual spring break arrangement that parents settle for, schedule a meeting with the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance. We can provide you options for getting the decree that best works for you and your children, be it managing spring break time or anything else that concerns you.