June 2, 2009

Home for the Holidays?

 Holidays and Children and Divorce

As a parents facing divorce, the biggest question you will face is determining custody and parenting time for your children.  This includes not only the day to day scheduling issues, but also the important days of the year that involve the holidays. 

Holidays must be addressed by every parenting schedule.  It is a question that must be addressed by every family; however, the answer to that question depends on your particular family.  

What a parenting time plan MUST include is a schedule that address where the children will be on the major holidays and vacations during the year.  This includes New Years Eve and Day, Spring Break, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Hanukah, and other that may be important to your religion and culture.  

Vacations and Children and Divorce

Additionally, parents may wish to reserve a one-week or two-week period during which they can take a vacation with the children.  Usually this is reserved to spring break, winter break, and summer break time periods so that the children’s school is uninterrupted. 

 Details and Children and Divorce

What I typically see in a parenting plan holiday schedule is that the parents alternate years – in even years, mom has the children for Christmas Eve, and dad has them for Christmas Day; in odd years, they switch.  It is also important to consider which holidays matter most to you.  Is it ok for your children to be with your spouse for Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Day all in the same year?  If not, then you should look at the alternating schedule to make sure it reflects what you want to have happen. 

 Finally, make sure that your schedule specifies whether it covers the Holiday day, or Holiday weekend, and what time periods that covers.  Sometimes Thanksgiving is just one day, sometimes it’s a 4-day weekend.  Sometimes Christmas Eve ends at 10 PM; sometimes “Christmas Day” starts at 10 AM the next day.  It is important to discuss these potential solutions with your spouse at the time you draft your parenting time plan.  It is not safe to assume that you and your spouse will work on the same time frame once things are in place!

 Emily M. Matson, Esq.


Plymouth, MN 55447

Phone:  763-951-7330



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