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Can My Parenting Time Be Modified During the Holidays?

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County family law attorneysThe decision to divorce is difficult, especially when a couple has children together. One of the main reasons parents stay together even if they are unhappy is because they do not want to lose any time with their kids. During divorce proceedings, many child-related issues must be addressed. 

In Illinois, “visitation” is now referred to as “parenting time.” This schedule can be agreed upon by both parents, or if they cannot come to an agreement, a judge will decide for them, keeping the best interest of the children in mind. The schedule is a part of the parenting plan, which, once approved by the court, is a legally binding document. It is important to follow the schedule as it was created, but parents may modify it if they both agree to the changes. As you might expect, the holidays present a unique challenge when it comes to parenting time, so the best approach is to be prepared. 

Adjusting Schedules

Creating a special holiday parenting time schedule can make things easier because it outlines where the children will spend each holiday without the parents having to negotiate every year. In many cases, parents rotate major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Children are typically with their mom on Mother’s Day and their dad on Father’s Day. When the parents do not live close together, the schedule is adjusted for time to travel.

Most kids have a two-week Christmas break, which can be split evenly between the parents. For instance, one parent might have the first week of break, and the other parent would have the last week. In addition, they can alternate weeks each year. Some holidays may be more important to one parent than the other due to religious beliefs or family traditions, and the arrangements can take this into account as well.

The holiday schedule generally takes priority over the normal visitation schedule, so both parents should consider this when coming up with their times for the year. For example, if the non-custodial parent misses his or her parenting time because of a certain holiday, the normal schedule will start again after the holiday.

Depending on your specific circumstances, your parenting plan could be set up so that you and the other parent:

  • Alternate holidays every other year: One parent can be assigned specific holidays on the even years while the other parent will have the odd years. This way, a parent will not miss spending a holiday with his or her child for more than one year in a row.
  • Split the holiday in half: If parents live close together, children can spend part of the day with each parent. For instance, they can have breakfast or brunch with their dad and dinner with their mom. 
  • Celebrate a holiday twice: Celebrating a holiday twice may not seem ideal, but children may find it fun. For example, one parent can celebrate Christmas with their kids on Dec. 24 and the other parent will do it on Dec. 25 or on the weekend after Christmas.
  • Appoint specific holidays: Parents may decide that certain holidays are more meaningful to them than others. Therefore, they can have those designated holidays every year.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

Routines and schedules are often disrupted during the holidays. Kids are off from school, parents take vacations, and relatives visit from out of town. If you have questions or concerns about your parenting time during the winter holidays or any other time of the year, it is important to seek the advice of a legal professional. A dedicated Geneva parenting time attorney will fight for your rights so you can spend quality time with your children. Call the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C. today at 630-200-4882 to schedule your initial consultation.




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