Who Gets the Children for the Holidays?
Every year, divorced, separated, and estranged parents need to address how they will enjoy parenting time with their children during the holidays.
Holiday Parenting Time
Every year, divorced, separated, and estranged parents need to address how they will enjoy parenting time with their children during the holidays. Parents should accordingly include agreed-upon “holiday parenting time” provisions within their Marital Settlement Agreement, Custody Agreement, and/or Consent Orders addressing custody and parenting time. Parents should also recognize that any holiday parenting time schedule they agree to and incorporate within a writing signed by both parties will trump the parenting time schedule these same parents otherwise comply with during the school year.
Special Consideration For the Holidays
Holiday parenting time, holiday traditions, vacations during the holidays, and other “special considerations” governing holiday parenting time should accordingly be specifically addressed within any agreements and/or consent orders addressing custody and parenting time. As with most custody considerations, the best interests of the children will generally govern what should or should not occur in the context of holiday parenting time.
When parents celebrate different religious holidays and/or when certain holidays have historically been celebrated with one parent or the other, there may be ways to share holiday parenting time without adversely impacting time each parent enjoys with the children. It should also be noted that the counties within New Jersey that we practice in each have their own “holiday parenting time schedule” that can be incorporated into the parties’ custody agreements and/or consent orders and/or modified to fit the unique circumstances of the family and what the parents agree, in that family, works best for their children.
Quality Time for Family Traditions
These court-approved “holiday parenting time” schedules generally handle the Christmas holiday by having one parent enjoy parenting time beginning Christmas Eve through and including Christmas Day at 12 noon, and by having the other parent enjoy parenting time with the children beginning on Christmas Day at 12 noon and continuing through and including the day after Christmas, December 26. These schedules also generally provide that the parents will annually alternate who gets Christmas Eve and who gets Christmas Day into the following day. This way, both parents get to enjoy the children during the Christmas holiday without adversely impacting quality time in family traditions. That having been said, there are also some families who choose to share rather than alternate holidays with the children. In the right cases, even when parents are divorced, separated and/or estranged, they can still share their holiday parenting time with the children, sometimes even involving and/or blending with their new significant others, spouses, and her stepchildren.
While every case is the same because we’re trying to come to an agreement as to the best holiday parenting time schedule for the children, every case is different because every family is different. Please consider contacting us for a free initial phone consultation if you have any custody and/or parenting time issues during the holidays and/or at any other time.