Holiday Parenting Time
Do your child custody orders contain provisions for holiday time with your children? If so, are they written in a clear and concise manner such that they are easy to follow? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, we can help. The Denver area family law attorneys at Plog & Stein have been representing clients with all types of Parenting Time issues for decades. Let us put our over 70 years of combined legal experience to work for you!
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When originally formulating child custody and visitation orders, there are various key elements of a well-written parenting plan. Of the most significance is the regular Parenting Time schedule, which will dictate when your child is generally with you and when your child is with the other parent. Regular Parenting Time schedules come in many formats, whether equal or the child residing the majority of the time with one of the parents. Regardless of what your orders might indicate regarding regular time, it is common, if not expected, for those orders to also include holiday time. Family law courts recognize the importance of holidays to parents, and more importantly to children. As such, should either party ask for there to be provisions for holiday time, a court most likely to grant such a request. Preferably, you find yourself in a situation in which you are just getting your new custody and Parenting Time orders established. If so, you have the opportunity to get holiday time in place right from the start. If you find yourself in a situation in which you already have orders in place, but those orders don’t contain adequate, or any, holiday provisions, you still have the ability to change things via a motion to modify Parenting Time pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-129.
Each family is different and not everyone celebrates or prioritizes the same holidays. As such, there is no set, prescribed holiday schedule. However, there are normal holidays which will either typically be included in the schedule or which a court will readily address. In most cases, holiday time will also include break time from school, such as winter break, spring break, and fall break.
Normal one-day holidays might include Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas or Hanukkah. When meeting with your family law attorney, it’s important that you make sure to let them know what holidays matter to both you and the other parent. In some cases, one party might not care about a holiday, such as Fourth of July, but may greatly value time at Easter. The hope is always that the parties are able to work out a schedule. If not, that’s where court and court hearings come in.
When crafting your holiday Parenting Time orders, the norm is that the given holidays are balanced between the parties in any given year. This is generally accomplished by dividing them up and alternating on an even/odd year basis. Winter breaks are generally to be two weeks long and are often divided, whereas spring or fall break will generally be one week, and alternated year to year. Though vacation time outside of the designated holidays is a different matter, it is quite common for the holiday schedule to contain some sort of orders regarding how vacations are dealt with as well. Generally, each parent shall have one or two weeks of vacation time with the kids each summer.
Getting the holidays ironed out and the schedule you want is certainly the core issue you may need to deal with. However, there are other aspects of holiday Parenting Time, tied into detail, which our family law attorneys can help you with. To have a good, working visitation schedule, detail is essential. As relates to holidays, making sure there are stated start and stop times, as well as locations for doing the exchanges matters. Though holidays may seem like a lesser issue to deal with when formulating a parenting plan, they can become a point of contention when formulating orders or a point of contention when modifying or interpreting them. When dealing with the issue of holidays, we recognize the importance of specificity and the problems that vague or ambiguous orders can bring. In light of such, crafting well written Parenting Time orders is one of the many services our firm provides.
The ultimate goal in any child custody litigation is always to have orders in place which are truly in the best interest of your child. We know the law and we know what’s fair. At Plog & Stein, our only goal is the best possible outcome for you, the client.