Holiday Visitation Issues and Potential Solutions
Scheduling the Spread of Holiday Cheer
A regular access schedule can benefit you, your co-parent, and your children for the majority of the year. However, it’s likely that the general agreement fails to include special consideration for the holiday season and how you will each be able to celebrate with your children. Having a holiday visitation schedule distinct from your standard agreement allows both you and your co-parent an opportunity to enjoy a celebration with your children.
School breaks are also important times to have a different access schedule in order to accommodate the religious practices of each parent, the need for modified childcare, and the desire of each parent to spend time with their children.
Holidays to Consider
When creating a holiday visitation schedule, parents must consider more than the main holidays. It is important to remember that unless you ask the court to address a specific holiday, then you cannot presume it will be included in an order.
Here is a non-comprehensive list of holidays you might want to consider including in a holiday access schedule:
- New Year’s Eve
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- President’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day
- Veterans Day
- Day after Thanksgiving
- Winter Break
- Summer Break
- Children’s Birthdays
- Birthdays of the Parents
These holidays, religious days of observance, and even personal celebrations like birthdays can be accounted for in a couple’s divorce decree.
How Do I Create a Holiday Schedule?
You and your co-parent could settle on a holiday visitation schedule independently with the help of our attorney. Alternatively, you could take the matter to court and leave the decision up to the discretion of the judge.
There is no standard holiday visitation schedule in Maryland, but there are a few common avenues people follow. You and your co-parent may consider adopting one of these approaches:
- Alternating years: Parents who celebrate all of the same holidays may elect to alternate years. Through this approach, each parent could have a few of the holidays for one year and then switch the next. For example, Parent 1 may get Thanksgiving on odd years while Parent 2 receives Halloween. During even years, they would switch.
- Permanent assignment: Parents could decide with whom the children will spend the holidays from the start without any alternation.
- Splitting the day: For co-parents who live close to each other and maintain an amicable relationship, splitting the day could be a great way to allow each parent to celebrate with their children.
Matthew Penick Law can help you craft the holiday visitation schedule right for you. Contact us today to schedule your turn to ring in the holidays with your children.