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One of the most contentious areas of developing a parenting plan is how the holidays will be shared between parents. When most of us think of the holidays, it is often just the events during November and December that come to mind. But a solid parenting plan also addresses the holidays that occur throughout the year, such as Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. Another issue that may need to be addressed is what happens if Mother's Day or Father's Day falls on a day that the child is scheduled to be with the other parent?
You may include a clause about how your children will spend the holidays in your custody arrangement. If you are currently working through the divorce process, discuss family holidays with your spouse and with your attorney. You will likely have to compromise with your spouse regarding how the holidays are split up, but if you both take a proactive stance and work together from the start, you stand a better chance of reaching a positive, productive outcome.
Ways to Divide the Holidays
There are a few different options families take when deciding how to develop a holiday visiting agreement for their children.
Some divorcing couples opt to alternate holidays between both parents and their extended families. When a family chooses this option, the parents rotate who spends certain holidays with the children each year. For example, Mom might take the children on Thanksgiving on odd-numbered years and Dad spends Thanksgiving with them on even-numbered years. Usually, parents who live far away from each other choose this schedule because it eliminates the need to travel on the high-traffic days surrounding most holidays.
When parents have separate holiday preferences or strict traditions, it is sometimes best to have fixed holidays. This means that each parent spends specific holidays with their children every year, like having the children spend Halloween with their mother every year while Dad takes every Fourth of July. This is also a popular option for parents who are of different faiths, with each taking their children for their religion's holidays.
If a child's parents live fairly close to each other, they may choose to simply split holidays. This means that each parent gets to spend a portion of every holiday with the child. Sometimes, the portion of the day that the child spends with each parent can be alternated, creating a scenario where a child eats Thanksgiving dinner with one parent and dessert with the other every year, but with one parent taking dinner on even-numbered years and the other taking it on odd-numbered years, alternating dessert the same way.
Do not neglect your holiday traditions when you are developing your child custody arrangement. If you are in the process of working through a divorce and want to learn more about how you can create a productive custody agreement for your children, contact the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio today to discuss your case with one of our firm's experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys.