How Can You Include the Holidays in your Parenting Plan?


Holidays, and the traditions that follow them, are some of the fondest memories families create together. However, after a separation, traditions may change and time with your children may be split during these special times. Some parents may be forced to celebrate the holiday on alternate days or miss the holiday time all together with their child, rotating each year. It is important to discuss with your former partner and Orlando Child Custody Attorney the plans and adjustments that may need to be implemented into your parenting plan regarding the holiday times and how your family will be able to celebrate these special holidays going forward.

Before establishing a parenting plan, note which holidays are most important to you. For instance, some families have routine family reunions over the summer break on a specific week each year. This may be more important to you than the spring break holiday and will need to be negotiated with your partner. Further, some families find the Thanksgiving holiday to be more sentimental than Christmas or vice versa. Being able to distinguish which holidays are most important to you, and those that provide you with less hesitation, allows you to properly negotiate with your partner. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney will try to assist each party in determining the most important holidays so that the arrangements can meet both parties’ needs and wants.

One important factor in formulating a holiday time sharing schedule is first to consider religious preferences. Holidays may be different for each parent due to their differing religious beliefs. For instance, one parent may celebrate holidays such as Hanukkah or Ramadan while one celebrates Christmas. This may be an easier division of holiday time sharing as the holidays will fall on different days. However, this is not the case in many parenting plans and other modifications will need to be made.

There are two main schedules implemented by couples in their parenting plans regarding holidays. The alternating holidays, and the split holiday. With an alternating schedule, one parent will be given holiday time sharing with the children every odd year while the other parent is provided every even year. However, this schedule may need to be broken down even further as most parents do not want to go through a whole year without celebrating a single holiday with their child. Therefore, it may be important for you to establish within an alternating year schedule, a further alternating holiday schedule. For instance, in every odd year parent A would get time sharing on President’s day, Easter, 4th of July, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, and New Years while parent B would get Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween, and Christmas. In the even years, the holidays would switch.

However, spending a holiday without a child is too much for some parents to bear. Therefore, splitting holidays is also a common result of many parenting plans. With splitting holidays, the parents will designate a time on each holiday for the children to be exchanged. For instance, on even years parent A would get time sharing on Christmas morning and the children would be exchanged at noon and parent B would have Christmas evening with the children. Each plan contains their own nuances and focus on each holiday and should be formatted specifically to your family’s needs.

If you are having trouble developing a parenting plan with your partner regarding the holidays; contact an Orlando Divorce Attorney today. We will be able to provide you with various options and help you develop and acknowledge your needs and desires when it comes to these important topics. Contact our office to benefit from our experience in crafting a parenting plan that meets the needs of your family.

Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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