Dividing Christmas Holiday Parent Time

Christmas Holiday Parent Time is the most confusing of all holiday parent time. This article will help you understand how to determine who gets time when, and how long it should last. 

1. When does Christmas Holiday Parent Time begin and end?

The answer to this question is simple, but you wouldn’t think so based on how many statutes you have to read. The simple answer is that Christmas break, for purposes of parent time, begins the day they get out of school for break, and ends the evening before they go back to school.

2. How Long is the Break for Parent Time Purposes?

For the purposes of parent time, you start counting from the day they get out of school and count all the way to the day before they go back. This is the total amount of days, and is an important number to help you determine how long and when each parent should exercise parent time.

3. How Long Is Each Parent’s Chunk of Christmas Holiday Parent Time?

Once you have the total number of days, divide it in half. If it’s an odd number, round up for the purposes of determining when the trade off will be (IE, if your total days are 13, round up to 14, then count out 7 days. The 7th day is the exchange day). If there is an even amount of days, the exchange happens at 1 PM on the first day of the other parent’s half of the parent time. If there is an odd amount of days, the exchange occurs at 7 PM. Please see the following example for the year 2016, with Christmas Holiday Parent Time beginning on the 21st (Also know that this example assumes the custodial parent for parent time purposes is the custodial parent throughout the year). 

4. What Parent Gets Christmas?

Perhaps the most important question to you. The custodial parent gets Christmas Eve and Day during even years. The noncustodial parent gets the holidays during odd years. Whether you are the custodial parent depends on your decree. If it is not explicitly stated, the parent with the most custody during the year is likely the custodial parent for purposes of holidays.

5. Decide for Yourselves!

Although there is a statute that tells you when and how Christmas should go, you can and should decide for yourselves on what works best for you. There is no decree police who will be checking in on you to make sure you are following it. Parents who can agree to their own schedules independent of the decree or the statute tend to have less litigation and less stress during the holidays. If you can’t agree, at least you have the statute to fall back on.

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