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Thanksgiving Schedules and Parenting Plans

After Halloween, Thanksgiving will be right around the corner. This holiday is included in Washington’s Parenting Plan Pattern form. Parents can choose to modify the form to schedule the holiday in a way that makes sense for their children (in rare circumstances, the court may choose to overrule the parents’ decisions). For many two-home (i.e., unmarried or separated parents) families this means the children will spend the Thanksgiving holiday with only one of their parents. And, some parents will be spending the holiday without their kids. Families choose to schedule the Thanksgiving holiday in a number of ways. Here are some of the ways two-home families choose to schedule their Thanksgiving holiday.

  1. Only the Thursday. Some parents choose to schedule the Thanksgiving holiday as just one day. The child (or children) will be schedule to reside with one parent for Thanksgiving Day and then the child will resume their normal holiday schedule. This is generally the default.
  2. Thursday through Friday. In this schedule the child is with the parent scheduled to have the child for the Thursday Thanksgiving and following Friday. This means that the child returns to the normal residential schedule for the weekend.
  3. Thursday through Sunday. This gives the child a four-day weekend for with the parent scheduled to have the Thanksgiving holiday.
  4. Sunday through Sunday. When the children get an entire week off of school, or when the children are not yet in school, parents sometimes choose to schedule Thanksgiving to last a full week. This schedule also allows time for the children to travel to out-of-state parents.

Some families do not celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  Even if this is the case, you may want to address, within the parenting plan, where school-aged children will reside during the time off of school.

It is important that you tell your family law attorney how your family traditionally celebrates Thanksgiving and other holidays. With that information your attorney can draft a parenting plan that allows you to maintain your holiday traditions into the future.

If you have questions about your holiday schedule or any other family law questions, we’d be honored if you chose to contact us.