Holiday Parenting Time
By: M. Scott Gordon
When parents in the Chicago area get divorced and have minor children from the marriage, they should be prepared to work together in some capacity with regard to their children. While divorces can be complicated and contentious, it is typically best for all parties involved if the parents can find a way to communicate when it comes to their kids, and to find a solution for parenting time. If parents can agree to the terms of their shared parental responsibilities, they can develop a parenting agreement that, as long as the court finds it to be in the best interests of the child, can become the official. Even if the parents cannot come to an agreement with regard to parenting time, the court will allocate it according to what is in the child’s best interest.
While the task of allocating parenting time can be complicated enough in terms of working out a day-to-day schedule, this task can become even more complex (and often more contentious) with regard to the holidays. How does holiday parenting time work, and what should parents and families expect?
Why a Parenting Plan Can Be Helpful for Allocating Parenting Time for the Holidays
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs the allocation of parental responsibilities, including parenting time. As we suggested above, when parents work together to create a parenting plan, they can have more control over the process. To be sure, families often know what works better for them than a judge might, and parents may be able to create a holiday parenting time schedule that fits the specific needs of the family. When the terms of holiday parenting time are not outlined in a parenting plan, the court will determine a schedule that it considers to be in the child’s best interests.
Alternating Important Holidays
One of the most common ways in which holiday parenting time is allocated is by alternating important holidays each year. For example, if the family celebrates Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter each year, then Parent A might spend those holidays with the child every odd year (or every other year), while Parent B will spend time with the child during the even years. Or, Parent A could have parenting time on Thanksgiving and Easter every odd year, and parenting time on Christmas every even year, with the alternating years dedicated to parenting time for Parent B.
Splitting Holidays Between Parents
Sometimes it works for parents to split the holidays. For example, if a family celebrates either Hanukkah or Christmas, the parents might decide that Parent A will have parenting time for the first four nights of Hanukkah, and Parent B will have parenting time for the remaining four nights of Hanukkah each year. Or, Parent A might have parenting time every Christmas Eve, while Parent B has parenting time every Christmas Day.
Finding a Way to Resolve Holiday Parenting Time Problems
The examples of holiday parenting time discussed above are not the only options. There are many creative ways that parents can develop a holiday parenting time schedule, as well as inventive ways that the court can allocate parenting time for the holidays.
The best way to resolve disputes about holiday time is for the parents to work together, and an experienced lawyer can help.
Contact a Chicago Parenting Time Attorney
Developing a parenting plan or facing difficult questions about holiday parenting time can be distressing for anyone, but a compassionate Chicago parenting time lawyer can assist you. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC for more information.