If you already have a custody order, there will likely be a separation holiday schedule. The holiday schedule will trump the normal physical custody schedule. But what if you do not have a holiday schedule or a custody order? What is a typical holiday schedule?

The answer is it depends because every family dynamic is different. If mom and dad live ten minutes from each other, then then the children are able spend the holiday with both parents. For example, mom may have Thanksgiving from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and dad may have Thanksgiving from 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. However, if the parents live five hours apart, sharing the actual day is impossible. Maybe in that situation mom will have custody on Thanksgiving Day in even years, and dad will have custody in odd years. Sometimes holidays are split into blocks. For example in odd years mom has custody the Wednesday before Thanksgiving until Friday after Thanksgiving and Dad will have custody the Friday after Thanksgiving until Sunday.

Different families celebrate different holidays. If mom is Muslim, maybe the children will celebrate Ramadan with mom every year, and Christmas with dad every year. There are times when a parent will have to work on the holiday therefore, the children will spend the day with the other parent. Some other factors to consider when forming a holiday schedule are whether one parents celebrates a specific tradition, do the children have other siblings or family members, the age of the Children, or if the family is traveling.

As with all custody schedules, the Courts will decide what is the best interest of the children, and that is important to keep in mind. Often children are more excited about the holidays than the parents. Do not focus on how many hours the child was with you on Easter, instead make fun memories without fighting or stress. For example, if the custody exchange time is normally at 9:00 a.m., you may consider changing the exchange time on Christmas Day until 1:00 p.m. to give the children time to play with all their new toys. When the children grow up, they will not remember if they opened their new basketball from dad on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, they would remember the fun they had playing with the new basketball. They will remember hunting for easter eggs with friends and family, not if the egg hunt was in 2007 or 2008. It will be nearly impossible to find a child that would not be just as excited to open birthday presents on a Saturday, even though their birthday is on a Wednesday.

If you are served with a custody complaint or you wish to file for custody, it is best to speak with an Attorney to advise you of your options and help navigate you through the process.