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Parenting Plan Holidays

With the holidays approaching, parents considering divorce may be wondering what holidays with their children could look like post-separation. While specifics should be discussed with an attorney, there is general information that might resolve some questions.

The Washington State parenting plan form includes the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The form provides just a starting point. Many families decide to add more holidays (ex. Easter, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, Halloween) and/or subtract some of the holidays (ex. Presidents’ Day, Veterans’ Day) already included.

The pattern form asks that parties provide where the children will reside during each of the holidays. It also asks that parties provide the time that the holidays will begin and end. In making this decision, it is important to consider the ages of the children, important times for the family during the holiday, and plans of extended family during holidays. Many families choose to have most holidays last from morning at around 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Then, many families choose to include exceptions to this general rule. For example, many make the Fourth of July an overnight and/or ask that Thanksgiving begin after school on Wednesday and last until Sunday. There isn’t a right or wrong way to handle holidays in your parenting plan, as long as your holiday schedule works for both parties and the children. We would be happy to help you draft a parenting plan that will keep your holidays as happy as possible.