Does Dad Always Get Visitation on Father’s Day?
In Texas, the standard custody agreement gives mom time with the kids on Mother’s Day and dad gets them on Father’s Day (usually the entire weekend, but some orders deal only with the Sunday). Of course, not every agreement follows the standard, particularly if the parents don’t live close to each other. And even when the custody arrangement is pretty straightforward, there are always exceptions and issues that come up from time to time. No custody agreement can be written so comprehensively that it will address every possible conflict that might arise. So how do you handle a dispute over visitation on Father’s Day when the agreement isn’t clear?
In the best-case scenario, the parents can work it out informally and agree that kids should be with their dad on Father’s Day. But if that’s not possible, you might need to call a family law attorney for advice. If it’s the day before the holiday, it’s probably too late for a court hearing, but you might get some guidance that can help sort out the situation.
In general, it’s important to remember that the guiding principle is not what’s fair to you or your ex. What matters is what is in the “best interests” of the child. If you’re fighting over visitation on a holiday because you think “it’s not her weekend” or “he doesn’t deserve extra time” – that’s a losing argument. Unless you can make a valid case that the holiday visitation exception benefits your child, you probably should not be pushing for it.
How to Make Father’s Day Special for Your Kids After Divorce
After a divorce, your kids may not have anyone to help them organize a special day, buy a gift or even a card. And if they do manage to make you breakfast, there’s a good chance you’re on your own when it comes to cleaning up the kitchen afterwards.
Unfortunately, we can’t write requirements into a divorce settlement or custody agreement that would make your ex continue to provide Father’s Day assistance to the kids after the divorce. Some will and some won’t, but there are things you can do to make sure it’s a special day for you and your children either way. Here are a few tips for making your Single Father’s Day a good one:
- Help your kids get help. Enlist a friend or family member (or your ex, if appropriate) to take them shopping so they can pick out a card or gift.
- Drop a few hints. Tell them you’re going to the store to buy a Father’s Day card for your dad and ask who wants to come along.
- Flip it around. Sure, Father’s Day is for honoring our fathers, but who says you can’t celebrate being a father? Make your own brunch reservations and surprise the kids with a special outing and little gifts just because you’re feeling festive on this day that’s all about you!
- Pay it forward. When Mother’s Day rolls around, help your kids get a gift, pick out a card, and plan a special day for their mom. No, you’re no longer obligated to, but it’s the right thing to do, and maybe she’ll repay the favor next year and you won’t have to be in charge of your own Father’s Day every time.
About the Author
Larry Hance is managing partner and founder of the Dallas law firm Hance Law Group. With more than 35 years of experience in family law, Mr. Hance uses his experience with the legal system, judges and other lawyers to help clients achieve the best possible results.