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Winter Break, Holidays, and Parenting Plans

Parenting plans should be drafted to fit the needs of the particular children whose lives (or residential schedules at least) will be governed by them.  This includes spending extra time thinking about how the child will be best served during their winter break from school and during the winter holidays.  There are many different ways the winter breaks and holidays can be scheduled within a parenting plan.  Below please find a few examples:

  1. Break Split Down the Middle.   For some families, the importance of the number of days of the break spent with either parent supersedes the importance of any winter holidays the family might celebrate.  This is also the choice of families who choose not to celebrate holidays.
  2. Break Split Down the Middle but Include Holidays.  This plan is similar to the plan described above, but also provides that the child will reside with one parent or the other for the holidays the family celebrates.  This plan can work well as it ensures nearly equal time spent with both parents, and also allows for alternating holiday schedules so both parents get an opportunity to celebrate with the children.  However, it can also mean more transitions for the children, and may be difficult in cases where the parents live far apart.
  3. Maintain Regular Schedule, but Include Holidays.  If both parents have to work during the winter break from school, and the child will be in child care, some families choose to maintain the child’s regular schedule for most of winter break.  Then, they designate who will have the child on the holidays the family celebrates.
  4. One Year On and One Year Off.  A less popular choice for winter break and holidays is to have the children reside with one parent for the entire winter break, including holidays, and then have the child spend the following winter break with the other parent.  This plan works well for families that include parents living very far from each other.  It should be considered in cases where the child will have to fly to visit the other parent, especially when the break from school is not very long.

What is most important about the winter break and holiday schedule is that it fits the needs of the families affected by it.  It is important that you discuss what winter break and holiday schedule you think would work best for your kids with an experience family law attorney.   A family law attorney can help you design a plan that will fit your particular circumstances.

If you have questions regarding your parenting plan or any other family law questions, please contact us.