Holiday Custody Arrangements
The key to creating detailed holiday custody arrangements is to make sure your entire custody schedule is thorough and complete. To do this, you can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules and parenting plans. You make each part of your schedule, and then you can print your calendar and plan.
Holiday custody arrangements may be one of the most overlooked portions of a child custody schedule.
One of the most standard arrangements for holiday schedules is simply alternating the holidays in even and odd years. This arrangement may work well for some people, but if you want a custody agreement that meets all of the needs of your child, you should prepare to take some time working on each section.
This should include the holiday schedule.
If you want to customize holiday custody arrangements for your child, you should start with defining the holidays that are important to you and that you want to include in the schedule.
You may want to start with federal holidays:
- New Year's Day (January 1st)
- Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday (the third Monday in January)
- Washington's Birthday (the third Monday in February)
- Memorial Day (the last Monday in May)
- Independence Day (July 4th)
- Labor Day (the first Monday in September)
- Columbus Day (the second Monday in October)
- Veteran's Day (November 11th)
- Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November)
- Christmas Day (December 25th)
Next, you will want to include any state holidays. For example, Utah celebrates Pioneer Day on July 24th. Nevada celebrates Nevada Day on the last Friday of October. State offices are closed on these days and state holidays usually involve a three day weekend.
If your state has any holidays that are relevant to your child custody schedule, you will want to be sure and include them.
Religious and other holidays should also be included in when making your child's holiday arrangements. You will want to include holidays that are celebrated by either parent so your child will be included in the various celebrations.
Some of these holidays may include:
- Good Friday
- Mother's Day
- Father's Day
- Rosh Hashanah
- Yom Kippur
- Christmas Eve
- New Year's Eve
Any holidays you would like to include may be added to the holiday schedule.
You may also consider special occasions such as the child's birthday, the parents' birthdays, and any other special days that are traditionally celebrated. If Grandma has a giant cook-out / mini family reunion the third weekend of each August, feel free to include it.
School holidays and school vacations will be an important part of your holiday arrangements. Even if your child is too young to go to school now, he or she will be going to school eventually.
You can include stipulations for what should happen on half days or three day weekends that are created by teacher work days, since these are not as easily predicted as these traditional school breaks:
- Thanksgiving Break
- Winter Break
- Spring Break
- Summer Vacation
If your child is in school, many school districts post their calendar online so you will be able to plan your year out in advance.
When you use Custody X Change to create your holiday schedule, you will be able to select from a complete list of traditional holidays. You will also be able to add additionally holidays and special occasions to the schedule.
Once you have decided which holidays and special occasions you are going to include, you will need to decide exactly when the holiday ends and begins.
For example, it is not enough to simply say “Halloween”. You will need to be specific and state that “Halloween” begins at 6pm on October 31 and ends at 9:30pm on October 31 (or whatever it is that you agree on).
You will need to go through your entire list of holidays and state their start and end times.
The Custody X Change software allows you to easily select individual start and end times for each holiday so you will be able to adjust the schedule as you would like.
How you divide up the holidays is important. Even the generic “alternate in even and odd years” plan provides the child will an equitable amount of time with each parent on the holidays.
You should keep your holiday arrangements fair and make sure your child's best interest is being met as you divide up the time.
It is still fine to agree to alternate the holidays you have defined, but you may want to be a bit creative in order to maximize the holidays for your child.
Family traditions should be a factor when trying to determine your holiday arrangements.
Perhaps Easter is a big deal with your ex and your ex's family. They get up early, go to church, and have brunch and an egg hunt followed by a nice Easter dinner. You may not celebrate Easter or not make a big deal of it. There is no law stating you can't allow your child the opportunity to spend every Easter with your ex.
On the other hand, maybe both of you have your own family Easter traditions. Rather than trade off every other year, you might want to consider splitting the day so that your child can spend Easter morning with one parent and the afternoon and evening with the other.
With each holiday, you should consider what would be best for your child and what would make your child the happiest. How can you make the most of these special days for your child? How can you be fair to your child while also being fair to both you and your ex?
With Custody X Change, you have complete freedom to divide the holidays as you feel is best for your child. You can choose to alternate a holiday, select one parent to have the child for a holiday every year, and you can even use the time features to split a holiday so your child can spend time with both of you.
Your holiday schedule will be included in the custody and visitation calendar so you will always have a clear picture and know what to expect.
Once you have established the dates and times of your holiday arrangements, you will want to include just a few more details so your plan is complete, such as who is going to provide transportation for the child.
Think through your plan and try to imagine anything you may have a problem with in the future. Custody X Change allows you to add any stipulations to your custody arrangements that you would like to include.
The time you spend now creating a comprehensive holiday schedule will save you a lot of stress and misery in the future. You won't have to deal with your ex when attempting to make plans or travel arrangements because you will have a concrete schedule, in writing, to refer to and follow.