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Home > Child Custody In the Holiday Season

Child Custody In the Holiday Season

By: Brian J. Forgue, Esquire

The holidays are typically a time for relaxation, celebration, and spending time with loved ones. The holidays are also a time when families with minor children affected by divorce usually have to refer to their custody orders to determine with which parent or party minor children will be spending their holiday.

In most cases, custody orders specifically state which parent or party has custody of the minor child/children for specific holidays in any given year. Custody will usually alternate between parents on even and odd years for major holidays. For example, a custody order can state that Parent 1 will have custody of the minor child/children for Christmas in odd years and Parent 2 will have custody for Christmas in even years.  Typically, custody orders will also provide that holidays take priority over the normal custody schedule. Again, for example, if a custody order says that Parent 1 has custody of the minor child/children for Christmas in 2021, but Christmas falls within Parent 2’s normal custody week, custody on Christmas for Parent 1 will take priority.

The best thing for divorced parents to do around the holidays, especially for the sake of their minor children, is to communicate with the other parent early to confirm everyone’s understanding and compliance with the holiday custody schedule in place. If you anticipate disagreements with the other parent, have this discussion early enough prior to the holidays to leave time to troubleshoot disagreements by involving a mediator or the court if necessary. Giving early attention to disagreements about the holiday custody schedule ideally will prevent disruption to the minor child/children’s enjoyment of the holiday, regardless of which parent or party has custody.

If there is no order in place specifying the holiday custody schedule, parents or parties should continue to work together cooperatively on a custody schedule to ensure that the holidays remain an enjoyable and relaxing time for children. 

If you have questions about your custody order, or other domestic issues, call Brian directly at 610-840-0221 or via email at [email protected]