As the holidays approach, many divorced couples are starting to grapple with how to handle time-sharing issues over the next few months. Fortunately, when couples divorce in Illinois, they are required to account for holidays in their parenting time agreement. While spouses who are able to come to an agreement can draft their own holiday schedules, parents who cannot agree have a schedule imposed upon them by the court. In either case, it is critical for all parties to comply with the court order, as they could face sanctions if they do not. In the event that a particular holiday schedule becomes unworkable, the parties can seek modification of the order with the court that issued it. For help coming up with your own holiday parenting time schedule, please contact our Palatine child custody and visitation legal team today.
When parents negotiate, they are often able to come up with a holiday schedule that serves the needs of both parties and their children. For instance, many couples choose to alternate holidays. For instance, a father may get to spend Thanksgiving with his children during odd years, while getting to spend the winter holidays with the children in even years. This option ensures that parents are given time with their children on specific holidays every other year.
Alternatively, a family could choose the option of celebrating a holiday separately. Essentially, parents choose two dates and then allow their children to celebrate a specific holiday with their parents on those dates. For instance, a child’s mother could get to celebrate Christmas on December 23rd, while her ex-spouse could celebrate it on the 25th.
Splitting a Holiday
Many parents instead opt for splitting a holiday in half, so that one party could have access to the child in the morning and early afternoon, while the other could spend the late afternoon and evening with the child on the same day. However, this option requires a significant amount of coordination and planning, so parents who do not live near each other or who have a tumultuous relationship are often encouraged to consider other schedules.
Standard Holiday Schedules
When a couple is unable to decide how holidays will be divided, a court will step in and make the decision on their behalf. In most cases, courts implement an alternating schedule when it comes to holidays and assign certain holidays, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve on alternating years, so that one parent will have the child for certain holidays during odd-numbered years, while the other parent will have access to the child on even-numbered years.
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Deciding when a child will celebrate a specific holiday with his or her parents can be an emotional issue, so it is important for divorcing parents to speak with an attorney before coming to an agreement. For help drafting or modifying your own holiday schedule, please contact the dedicated and compassionate child custody and visitation lawyers at SAM LAW OFFICE LLC by filling out one of our brief online contact forms.