Saturday, June 20, 2009

Have a Happy Father's Day!

One interesting aspect of the blogosphere is the opportunity to read about different laws in different states. A consistently well-written blog is the Ohio Family Law Blog written by Robert L. Mues. He has a timely post about the history of Father's Day and then describes how different counties in Ohio have different rules for fathers having possession of their children on Father's Day. I'm always interested in history, so here's what he wrote about the history of Father's Day:

"The third Sunday of June has become known as Father’s Day just as the second Sunday of May has become known as Mother’s Day. On that 'special' day in June, Fathers in the United States are feted with cards, gifts (often ties and wallets), meals especially prepared for them or 'dinner out' at their favorite restaurants, as well other special treats such as the preparation of a favorite dish or dessert prepared at home.

"From my readings at various websites, the origin of Father’s Day is not entirely clear. Some say it began with a church service to honor Fathers in Fairmont, West Virginia, on July 5, 1908. Others believe that Ms. Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, came up with the idea or plan to honor Fathers in 1909 while she listened to an earlier church service wherein Mothers were honored and praised. Ms. Dodd’s Father, a veteran of the Civil War and a 'single parent', had successfully raised six (6) children following the premature death of his Wife.

"Although the movement to honor Fathers began over one hundred (100) years ago, it took many years for this country to make this occasion an official holiday. While citizens supported the concept of Mother’s Day with pride and enthusiasm, the idea of Father’s Day was at first met with laughter and satire. While President Woodrow Wilson 'approved' the concept of an annual Father’s Day in 1916, it was not until 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge declared the day to be a national event. Thereafter, Father’s Day was celebrated but was not made a federal holiday until 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a proclamation declaring it to be so. Later, in 1972, President Richard Nixon established Father’s Day as a permanent holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June of each year."

Some readers may be a little familiar with that history, but it's not widely known. From a Collaborative Law perspective, what is really useful from the post is the description of the variations in how Father's Day is handled in different counties. Texas has a uniform state standard possession schedule which covers Father's Day, Mother's Day and most other major holidays. While the Texas standard possession schedule often works out well for both parties, it should be noted that our schedule is not followed by other states and doesn't have to be followed in Collaborative Law cases in Texas.

What Texas and other states do in possession orders, child support and even property division can be considered by the parties in a Collaborative case, but the Texas parties should always remember that Collaborative Law gives them the freedom to make their own rules to meet their own needs and circumstances. Be informed and be creative!

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