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The holidays can be a particularly difficult time if you are recently divorced or still going through a divorce, especially when children are involved. Holiday visitation can often be a challenging issue for parents to deal with or come to an agreement on because both parents must agree to spending time away from their children during some holidays.
A parenting plan can alleviate tensions between co-parents and allow the children to enjoy the holiday.
Despite your feelings toward your ex-spouse or soon to be ex-spouse, there are several reasons why both parents should work together to create and implement an effective plan for holiday visitation:
- A plan will ensure that both parents will have some time with the children over the holidays;
- The certainty of a plan will allow parents to make travel plans, if necessary;
- A plan also will give parents the ability to make arrangements for taking time off work or getting child care during the time the children will be out of school; and,
- The children will know what to expect and may, therefore, be able to cope with the changes a little better.
In making an agreement, parents should consider that the prospect of spending time away from members of their family is not an easy one for children either. Thus, it is important for parents to try to implement a plan that allows children to spend equal time with both parents, to the extent possible. You may want to consider some sample holiday visitation provisions below.
Practice Pointer - Sample Holiday Visitation Schedule
In even numbered years, the Father has Thanksgiving and the second week of Christmas Vacation/Winter Break (beginning at 2 p.m. on Christmas Day), while the Mother has Easter/Spring Break and the first week of Christmas Vacation/Winter Break (ending at 2 p.m. on Christmas Day).
In odd numbered years, the Father has Easter/Spring Break and the first week of Christmas Vacation/Winter Break (ending at 2 p.m. on Christmas Day), while the Mother has Thanksgiving and the second week of Christmas Vacation/Winter Break (beginning at 2 p.m. on Christmas Day).
The Mother has Mother’s Day every year, and the Father has Father’s Day every year. Any holiday that falls on a Monday (I.E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day) will belong to the parent who has the children the preceding weekend.
If your divorce has already been finalized, you and your co-parent are required to abide by your final divorce decree regarding holiday visitation. If your current visitation schedule is no longer suiting the current needs of your family, read our section on child custody and visitation modification to learn how you may change your visitation schedule. If your divorce or child custody matter is not yet resolved, we highly recommended that you seek an agreement with your co-parent regarding visitation in order to serve the needs and best interests of your children.