Holiday & Vacation Time in Custody

In the midst of the holiday season, it may become necessary to consider where children will spend the holidays if they have separated or divorcing parents. A holiday schedule can be included as part of a custody order. Frequently seen provisions include alternating holidays so that one party has even years the other has odds or splitting the holidays so that each party has a certain time allotted on the holiday itself. Ultimately, it is up to the parents and/or guardians in any given case to make a schedule that works best for them. It may be a schedule where the parties will always have the same holidays every year and won’t alternate or share. In some instances, a custody order may state that holidays will be shared as mutually agreed upon by the parties without the need to lay out specifics. There may be unique family traditions that don’t occur on the actual holiday that a party will want the kids to be involved in.

Another scenario to consider is if one party likes to travel during the holiday season and therefore intends to schedule a vacation during that time. Holiday and vacation time will generally supercede the regular custody schedule, however, be sure any custody order makes clear whether the holiday schedule or vacation provision takes top priority. As a practical matter, parties should try to be as civil and cooperative as possible when discussing holiday time. The holidays can be an especially difficult time for families that are going through separation and divorce and everyone involved will benefit from a process that is as amicable as possible.

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