When you have children together and divorce, you will need to decide how to fairly divide your time parenting – and that includes holidays and school breaks. Spring break is special because it’s often a convenient time to take a week-long holiday with the kids.
Spring break can also be contentious because there is no equivalent week-long school break to trade for. What is fair? It depends on your situation.
Most people choose to divide holidays and school breaks about 50/50, although your situation may call for something else. For example, if you and your ex will be living far apart, one of you will probably have the kids for most of the school year. In such a situation, it might be fair for the other parent to get spring break every year.
Ideally, you and your divorcing spouse will be able to agree on what is fair in your situation. If you can’t agree on what is fair, you may still be able to negotiate a solution you can live with. The ultimate resolution of these issues will become part of your official parenting plan, which will be a court order that both of you have to follow.
Dividing spring break approximately equally
If you do plan on an approximately equal split, there are three main ways to go about it:
- Assign spring break to one parent every year: This could be in exchange for another permanent holiday assigned to the other parent
- Alternate who gets spring break each year: One parent gets to take it in even years and the other in odd years
- Split spring break in half: Depending on the exact schedule, it may be possible to take half a week each
What will you do when there is a change in plans or a dispute?
A good parenting plan helps you handle things when there are minor adjustments needed. For example, suppose one of you wins a cruise and has the chance to take the kids to spring break in the Virgin Islands? If it’s the other parent’s year for spring break, what should happen? Is there a way to pivot for this opportunity? Or would you rather the schedule remain as agreed, even under unforeseen circumstances?
Parenting plans should also explain what happens in a dispute. Nobody wants to go back to court for every little change – and the court won’t let you. Consider whether you would prefer to go to mediation, your lawyers, a clergy member or another neutral third party you trust.
It’s important to work with a compassionate attorney who will go the extra mile while developing a parenting plan that works for you and your family.