Articles Tagged with special occasions

Most parents in the process of creating or modifying a parenting plan know that they will have to determine a residential schedule for their children. While this is obviously a very important part of the plan, there are other not-so-obvious considerations that should be considered (and potentially discussed with your lawyer) while drafting your parenting plan:

  1. Holidays: Okay, on first blush this might seem obvious – many holidays appear on the  standard parenting plan form itself, but we don’t just mean the holidays already listed on the pattern form. The pattern form parenting plan misses holidays celebrated by many of our clients (ex. Easter, Halloween, Hanukah, Chinese New Year, Ramadan, etc.). If these, or other holidays, are important to you or your children, they should be addressed in your parenting plan.
  2. Special Occasions: Along the same line as number one, the pattern form parenting plan misses several oft-celebrated special occasions. It covers Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but what about your birthday and/or your child’s birthday?

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.

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