Collaborating on Holiday Schedules in Divorce

Collaborating on holiday schedules in a parenting plan is very important. Spouses who are getting a divorce should see if they can collaborate regarding holiday schedules. If they choose to follow the court’s recommendations, they should look to the guidelines for their judicial circuit. For example, the third judicial circuit, which covers divorces in Barbour County and Bullock county, provides that the standard visitation or custody schedule is not the same between even-numbered years and odd-numbered years. Fostering Collaboration for Visitation  

For the Christmas break from school, one parent will have the child in even-numbered years from 9:00 a.m. on the day after the last day of school before the break until 6:00 p.m. on December 25th. That parent will have the child in odd-numbered years from 6:00 p.m. on December 25th until 6:00 p.m. on the day before school starts back at the end of the break, regardless of whether this direction conflicts with other provisions. The circuit’s standard guidelines in most Jefferson County and Blount County divorces also address Easter weekend, the Thanksgiving break from school, other school holidays, Mother’s Day weekend, Father’s Day weekend, and the child’s birthday. 

The standard visitation schedule states each parent shall have the child with them for special family events like weddings, funerals, and reunions that pertain to members of that parent’s immediate family. These periods may not interfere or deprive the other parent of their holiday periods with the children. The exception is if the other parent consents to the first parent keeping the child for the special event. The parent seeking to have the child with them for the special event is to provide as much notice to the other parent as possible. If the parents cannot otherwise agree, the make-up time will be the following weeknight, if a weeknight is missed, or weekend, if weekend time is missed. 

Parents who are having trouble agreeing on holiday schedules should work with a mediator. It is more expensive to use the services of a Birmingham divorce attorney to form such an agreement. Since not all parents celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, parents may be able to work out similar arrangements for other holidays which are important to them and their children.

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