Common Holiday Visitation Schedules
During the holiday season, I receive quite a few questions from parents who are in the midst of a contested divorce or contested visitation or custody dispute in Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, etc. Mostly, these questions relate to holiday visitation schedules. There is no “cookie cutter” holiday visitation schedule; each family likely has its own holiday traditions and the visitation schedule should respect that.
Typically, visitation during the holidays takes precedence over “regular visitation.” Thus, if it’s your weekend with your kids, but also your spouse’s holiday time, the holiday time normally trumps. Below is an example of a common holiday visitation schedule for parents who share physical custody of their children. I personally prefer the table format (though I’m having difficulty getting the table to look right on-line), because it’s clear and easy to locate within a comprehensive Marital Settlement Agreement.
As always, better holiday schedules will be specific about the details of the holidays. For example, good schedules will clearly establish when each holiday begins and ends. Though such details may feel restrictive, they are likely to head off future litigation. I hope the Holiday Child Visitation schedules below helps.
|Holiday:||Children with Mother:||Children with Father:|
|Thanksgiving (defined as 5:00 p.m. the night before to 5:00 p.m. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving Day)||Odd-numbered years||Even-numbered years|
|Christmas Eve (defined as 10:00 a.m. on 12/24 and continuing to 11:00 a.m. on 12/25)||Even-numbered years||Odd-numbered years|
|Christmas Day (defined as 11:00 a.m. on 12/25 and continuing to 5:00 p.m. on 12/26)||Odd-numbered years||Even-numbered years|
|New Year’s Eve (defined as 10:00 a.m. on 12/31 and continuing to 10:00 a.m. on 1/1)||Even-numbered years||Odd-numbered years|
|New Year’s Day(from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.)||Odd-numbered years||Even-numbered years|
|Father’s Day/Father’s Birthday(from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.)||N/A||All years|
|Mother’s Day/Mother’s Birthday(from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.)||All years||N/A|
|Independence Day(defined as 10:00 a.m. on the holiday until 10:00 a.m. the following day)||Odd-numbered years||Even-numbered years|
|Spring Break I (defined as the afternoon the children are released from school for Spring Break until noon of the mid-point of said Break)||Even-numbered years||Odd-numbered years|
|Spring Break II (defined as noon on the mid-point of the children’s Spring Break until 10:00 a.m. on the following Sunday.)||Odd-numbered years||Even-numbered years|
|Easter Holiday (defined at 10:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday until 8:00 p.m.)||Odd-numbered years||Even-numbered years|
|Children’s Birthdays||Each parent shall be permitted to spend time with the children on the children’s respective birthdays. During even-numbered years, Mother shall take responsibility for organizing and funding the children’s birthday parties. Father shall be invited to attend. During odd-numbered years, Father shall take responsibility for organizing and funding the children’s birthday parties. Mother shall be invited to attend.|
In addition to the division of the Christmas Holiday as set forth above, the parties shall endeavor to equally divide to the extent possible any remaining days of the children’s Christmas/Holiday Break from school. In the event the parties cannot agree on an equal division, Wife’s division plan shall have preference during even-numbered years and Husband’s division plan shall have preference during odd-numbered years.
Summer Vacation: Two (2) consecutive or non-consecutive weeks during each Summer Break from the school, with reasonable e-mail/written notice from each parent to the other on or before April 1st of each year of each party’s desired weeks. In the event that the parties’ desired weeks conflict, Father’s selection shall have priority in even-numbered years and Mother’s selection shall have priority in odd-numbered years;
Any other times as to which the parties may agree, taking into consideration the Husband’s schedule, the Wife’s schedule, and the children’s schedule;
If you’ve got questions about these issues, feel free to drop me a line. Jason A. Weis, Esquire – Curran Moher Weis P.C. – firstname.lastname@example.org – 10300 Eaton Place, Suite 520 Fairfax, VA 22030 – 571-328-5020.