By: Anne Spalding
If you have walked into any store recently, it is easy to see that the holiday season is quickly approaching! While this season of the year is joyous for many, it can also present stress and tension, especially in the context of divorce and custody cases. If you’re in the middle of a divorce, or are already divorced, it is important to understand what a holiday schedule with your minor children looks like and what that means for your travel plans.
During a divorce, one of the toughest issues for clients to grapple with is not spending every moment of every holiday with their minor children. While this is hard to accept, it is important to formulate a holiday schedule that works with your schedule and your family’s traditions on those particular holidays in order to avoid extra stress. For example, if your family travels out of town for Thanksgiving break but does not travel out of town for Christmas, consider spending every Thanksgiving with your minor children and giving your spouse the Christmas holiday, while having parenting time Christmas Eve.
If two parties cannot agree on a holiday schedule, the most common default schedule is for a Wife and Husband to alternate holidays based on odd and even years. If Wife has odd years, the Husband would have the children in even years. See an example below:
Labor Day: Wife- odd Husband- even
Memorial Day: Wife – even Husband – odd
Mother’s Day: Wife- always
Father’s Day: Husband- always
Thanksgiving: Wife – even Husband – odd
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Wife – odd Husband- even
Martin Luther King Day: Wife – regular parenting time Husband – regular parenting time
Easter: Wife – odd Husband – even
Mother’s Birthday: Wife- always
Father’s Birthday: Husband- always
Child’s Birthdays: Wife – regular parenting schedule/however the other parent shall have the opportunity to spend 2 hours with the child, the exact time to be agreed upon by the parties. Husband – regular parenting schedule/ however the other parent shall have the opportunity to spend 2 hours with the child, the exact time to be agreed upon by the parties.
Fall Break: Wife – regular parenting Husband – regular parenting
Spring Break: Wife – regular parenting Husband – regular parenting
4th of July: Wife – odd Husband – even
Obviously, if two parties can co-parent and communicate effectively, parties can divide holidays however they wish when drafting a separation agreement during the divorce process. If you’re getting along with your former significant other, great! However, we always recommend having a schedule in writing as a backup option if an issue arises.
Photo credit: Daria Shevtsova, Pexels