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Holiday Parenting Time Schedules

How Do You Split Holidays When Co-Parenting?

During your divorce or child custody case, you and your co-parent will need to consider how you want to share parenting time throughout the year, including during the holidays. While your regular shared parenting schedule may involve weekly or biweekly custody exchanges or resemble a 70-30 schedule, holiday parenting time disrupts/changes your normal shared parenting routine.

If you are currently involved in a custody case, you may be wondering how you should divide the holidays. Florida Statute § 409.25633 outlines the holiday schedule that must be signed and agreed to by parents if they do not have a signed and agreed-upon parenting plan when a request for child support is made. Parents may use the terms outlined in this statute as a guideline for building their own holiday schedule.

Under this statute, the parent paying support would be entitled to parenting time including:

  • Thanksgiving break (i.e. from 6 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the following Sunday at 6 p.m.) in even-numbered years
  • Winter break (i.e. alternating between the first and second half of the break in odd and even years)
  • Spring break (i.e. the entire break beginning at 6. p.m. on the day the child leaves school to 6 p.m. on the night before school starts again) in even-numbered years
  • Summer break (i.e. two weeks during the summer beginning the first Sunday after the last day of school)

As we said, this is just a guideline you can use. It is important to note that your holiday custody/visitation schedule should also include religious holidays, such as Diwali, Easter, Passover, Yom Kippur, Hannukah, and Eid al-Fitr. You and your co-parent should also consider including “personal holidays,” like your child’s birthday and each parent’s birthday.

Parents can also consider splitting holiday time by:

  • Splitting holidays in half. This option allows parents and children to speech time with each other on actual holidays. For instance, on Christmas Eve, Parent A will have physical custody for the first half of the day, and Parent B will have physical custody for the second half of the day. On Christmas Day, Parent B would have physical custody for the beginning half while Parent A would have the final half of the day. To divide the winter break, parents could either alternate sharing the break or adhere to their normal visitation schedule.
  • Dividing holidays based on their regular visitation schedule. Rather than make parenting time changes for all holidays, some parents just stick to their normal parenting schedule during the holidays. For instance, if Parent A has custody on the Fourth of July and Labor Day based on their normal routine, then they will celebrate that holiday with their child.
  • Assigning fixed holidays. Some holidays are more special to individual people than others, especially if you and your co-parent have different religious beliefs. With this division of the holidays, parents will plan to spend specific holidays with their children each year. For instance, if either parent is a servicemember, they would likely spend Veterans Day and other military holidays with their child. In another case, if either parent is Hindu, they may spend Diwali, Holi, Dussera, and Navratri with their child. However, in this case, it will important that the parent with legal custody is okay with exposing the child to a religious event/background.
  • Alternating even and odd years. Like with the schedule outlined under Florida Statutes § 409.25633, parents will devise a schedule where they alternate which holiday they spend with their child and then alternate that each year. For instance, in even-numbered years, Parent A will spend New Year’s, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, the second half of winter break, and Christmas with their child, and Parent B will have physical custody on Valentine’s Day, Spring Break, Labor Day, the first half of winter break, Christmas Eve, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving. In odd years, they would swap which holidays they spend with their child.

Consult with Our Attorney

Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office is here and prepared to help parents discuss their options concerning holiday parenting time. We understand how important holidays and family are, and we understand the stress you may be under trying to navigate your divorce/child custody case. Whether you have questions about what type of schedule will work best for you and your family or need help negotiating a plan with your co-parent, our attorney can work tirelessly to help you achieve the best possible results.

Let us help you. Schedule a case consultation today, or call (727) 312-1112 today.

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