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How should we split our parenting time over the holidays?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Family Law |

When a couple with children splits up, they will need a custody order and parenting plan. One of the most important aspects of a parenting plan is deciding how you will divide time with your kids during the holiday season and on holidays throughout the year.

Most parents want to maximize their time with the kids, especially on holidays. There are several standard holiday-sharing options to choose from, but parents can negotiate whatever works best for their family.

To get started, make a list of what holidays, celebrations and days off school that you need to share. That list might include:

  • Your kids’ birthdays
  • Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter or other religious holidays
  • Cultural holidays such as Lunar New Year
  • New Year’s Eve and day
  • Winter break
  • Spring break
  • Summer break
  • Federal holidays like Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Labor Day and Veterans Day
  • State holidays
  • Three-day weekends
  • Other days off school
  • Any other significant special occasions

Once you have a list, consider whether you want to split each holiday, alternate which parent has the kids on the holiday, celebrate the holiday twice, or assign a holiday or celebration permanently to one parent. You can negotiate a different strategy for each holiday or make a uniform rule for all of them.

For example, many people assign Mother’s Day permanently to mom and Father’s Day to dad. Each parent would always get the kids on their respective day. That’s a very common arrangement, but it won’t work for everyone.

There may be holidays and celebrations that one parent cares about more than the other. These could be assigned to that parent permanently in exchange for the other parent always getting another comparable day.

When it comes to major holidays, it is likely your ex will want to share the holiday, alternate years, or celebrate twice. Each of these alternatives is acceptable in a North Carolina parenting plan.

Carefully consider whether you and your ex can literally share some holidays, such as throwing a joint birthday party for your child. If you can get along well enough to share some special days, you may make it easier on your kids.

Whatever you decide, your parenting plan will be an enforceable court order, so it’s crucial to work with a compassionate attorney who will go the extra mile for your family.


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