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Holidays for Divorced Parents: Who Gets Visitation Rights?

By Dan Rose
Updated on April 18, 2024
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In an ideal world, every child will have two caring parents who are equally involved in their life. When those parents are not a couple, they must agree on how and where a child will be raised as well as how much or how little each parent will be involved.

A parenting plan describes the custody arrangement between parents as well as the parents’ agreement on major issues regarding a child’s care and well-being.  The parenting plan is typically agreed upon during a divorce or separation and it outlines the day-to-day living arrangements of the child as well as visitation and parenting time for each party.

The plan can include decisions on religion, health, education, etc. A parenting plan is written by a family law or child custody attorney and is designed so that there is a clear understanding between the parties about how parenting time will be shared and the expectations of all parties.  A clear, comprehensive, well-written parenting plan can help prevent future misunderstanding and disagreements and help parents understand the different custody options available.

Parenting Plan For Holidays

One of the big discussion points when drawing up a parenting plan is how holidays will be divided between the parties.  Holidays should not be about stress and a written understanding between parents about where/how their child will spend the holidays can go a long way towards a happy and harmonious holiday.  A typical parenting plan will stipulate that holiday visitation rights are divided evenly between both parents alternating yearly. However, a parenting plan is always best when it is tailored to the unique circumstances of a family. For example, if Parent A celebrates Christmas and Parent B celebrates Hannukah, it would make sense for Parent A to always have their child on Christmas and Parent B to always have their child on Hannukah, rather than to split and alternate those holidays each year.

It is also the case that some families choose to split each holiday in half with the child spending the morning with one parent and the evening with the other.  Some families even choose to assign fixed holidays with Parent A having parenting time on July 4th, mother’s day and Passover and Parent B having parenting time on Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Holiday schedules will take precedence and override any standard parenting plan.  To illustrate, if Parent A typically has the child on Wednesday evenings through Saturday mornings as outlined in the parenting plan’s weekly schedule but the holiday schedule stipulates that it is Parent B’s year to spend Halloween with child and Halloween happens to fall on a Friday night this year, then the holiday schedule trumps the standard weekly schedule and Parent B gets to spend that day with the child.

Most parenting plans will give additional parenting time to each parent on their own birthdays and will share the child’s birthday.  Summer breaks must also be accounted for in the parenting plan. Whether you choose to divide your child’s summer break between parents or to simply continue to follow the day-to-day custody arrangement, it should be outlined in the parenting plan setup by your child custody attorney.



The attorneys at Aronov Law NY have years of experience drafting these types of agreements.  They will use their expertise to craft a comprehensive plan for your family so that nothing is unaccounted for and unnecessary squabbles about holidays are prevented.  Fill out the adjacent form now to discuss your parenting plan today.

This article is for educational purposes only – to provide you with general information, not to provide specific legal advice.  Use of this post does not create an attorney-client relationship and information contained herein should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.

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