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Avoid the Holiday Custody Battle

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plan for the holidays

Plan for Parenting Time During the Holiday Season

Holidays are a time to celebrate with family, but it’s hard to feel like celebrating when your children are spending the holiday with an ex-spouse. We have found that even an amicable divorce can turn hostile when it comes to sharing holiday time.

The best way to deal with family time during the holidays is to plan in advance. Creating a holiday custody schedule will prevent battles during the holiday season and make the holidays easier for everyone.

The first thing to do is make a list of holidays that your family celebrates. Include all the days that your children don’t have school. Decide which holidays and traditions are most important to you. Since the agreement must be fair to both parents, be prepared to compromise.

Typical Holidays and Special Days Listed on PA Divorce Agreements

(Unless otherwise indicated, the holiday is considered to last from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

  • Christmas Eve (6:00 p.m. December 24th, 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. Christmas Day, December 25th)
  • Christmas Day (12:00 p.m. December 25th to 6:00 p.m. December 26th at 6:00 p.m.)
  • New Year’s Eve Day (6:00 p.m. December 31st at 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. New Year’s Day, January 1st)
  • Chanukah
  • New Year’s Day (12:00 p.m. January 1st to 6:00 p.m.)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • President’s Day
  • Easter weekend
  • Passover
  • Spring break
  • Memorial Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • July 4th
  • Labor Day
  • Rosh ha Shana
  • Yom Kippur
  • Columbus Day
  • Fall break
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Father’s birthday
  • Mother’s birthday
  • Child’s birthday
  • Winter break

Holiday Schedules Have Priority

A holiday visitation schedule is different from the residential schedule. A residential schedule determines where your child lives on any given day of the year. The holiday visitation schedule determines when each parent will celebrate a holiday with the child. The holiday schedule has priority. If you normally have your child on Thursdays, you will have to give up those days on the years that your child is scheduled to spend Thanksgiving with your ex.

Creating a PA Holiday Visitation Schedule

For many parents, the easiest solution is to alternate holidays from year to year. If the children spend Thanksgiving with mom this year, then they spend Thanksgiving with Dad next year.

Other families choose to split each holiday in half. Half the holiday is spent with one parent and half with the other. However, this is only practical if parents live close to each other.

Another unique solution is to schedule each holiday twice. If one parent celebrates Christmas with the child on December 25, then December 20th is reserved for a celebration with the other parent.

The PA divorce attorneys at Petrelli Previtera understand that cookie cutter schedules don’t work for everyone. A good visitation schedule must take into account travel distances, school schedules, work schedules and other obligations. We will work with you and your ex to create the schedule that works best for you and your family.

Planning ahead is the best way to reduce stress and conflict during the holidays. Call 866-465-5395 to learn how we can help you.

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