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How Do Child Custody and Parenting Time Settlements Deal with Holidays?

Having to miss holidays with your child due to shared custody can be a difficult reality to face, but with a carefully prepared parenting plan, you can still be there for the important ones.

The State of Michigan and Macomb County, along with many other counties, provide model parenting time guidelines. The “best practices” included in these guidelines apply to holidays, school breaks and other special occasions, as well as to regular weekday and weekend schedules.

The proposed parenting time schedules offered by Macomb County offer several options for dividing up the holiday time a child has with each parent. Beyond designating that a child spends Mother’s Day weekend with the mother and Father’s Day weekend with the father, the guidelines suggest that parents divide up the following eight popular holidays:

  • Labor Day
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Easter Sunday
  • Memorial Day
  • Fourth of July

It is proposed that each parent spends time with the child for four of the eight holidays each year and swaps them annually. So, if a child spends Memorial Day, Labor Day, Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday with their father, they will spend Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day with their mother. The next year, they will do the opposite. Winter and summer breaks may also be alternated between parents. The 16th Judicial Circuit Court General Parenting Time Schedule provides a good example.

You and your child’s other parent are not bound to these specific guidelines, however. You have the option to work out a personalized parenting time settlement and then submit it to the court for approval. In a customized settlement, you can address other special occasions, holidays and cultural and religious events that are personal to you and your family. Mediation and collaborative law are two methods used to amicably craft custom parenting plans.

No matter the season, children deserve care from parents who are present and supportive. At Dawson Family Law PLLC, I pursue holiday parenting time agreements that serve the best interests of children while respecting the rights of parents. For more than 40 years, I have worked to help families overcome contentious and complex child custody disagreements. To schedule a free initial consultation with my office in Sterling Heights, Michigan, call 833-671-4445 or contact me online.

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