The Importance Of Holiday Schedules

Almost all clients need a holiday schedule of parenting time in their divorce settlement agreement. The precise wording of the schedule can make a big difference in resolving future disputes. Unless you and your ex have that good a relationship or your children are already in their late teens and will not follow a schedule, the likelihood is that this is an important component of your agreement.

The typical schedule will provide for the alternating of legal and religious holidays on an odd/even year basis. The typical agreement will provide a start time and an end time for these holidays. However, the devil is in the details. If you are the non-custodial parent you should make sure that your agreement provides for the continuation of a weekend schedule if you also have the Monday holiday thus allowing uninterrupted time for the Monday holiday from the preceeding weekend.

The schedule should provide that for school recesses the holiday starts at the conclusion of the last day of school attendance for the children so that if school closes on Thursday the holiday begins on Thursday not Friday and continues until the evening preceeding the first day of school.

Parents with summer schedules should specify which weeks will be chosen and who chooses first, what happens if the person with first choice does not make a selection and the impact, if any, on the following year. If the parents are alternating weeks in the summer the definition of the recess should be from the last day of school until the night before the first day of school. Labor Day will fall in the middle of the last few days and I have seen some parents argue about who gets the day or two after Labor Day before school resumes.

If parents are of different religions, care should be taken to insure that certain religious holidays are not alternated and instead each parent receives the same holiday each year to make sure the children are with them on Christian or Jewish Holidays, for example.

Agreements can also specify who has the children on non-school days such as snow closings, teacher conference days or other similar events.

It is much easier to solve these problems with a good agreement than to revisit them after the divorce or custody agreement is final.

If you are concerned about protecting your parenting time, please call my office to arrange a free consultation and to have the benefit of my over 30 years of experience.