How are Holidays Arranged in an Illinois Divorce or Child Custody Case?
Illinois family law courts recognize that it is important for children to spend the holidays with both parents. A Parenting Plan will usually contain a regular parenting time schedule, and a holiday parenting time schedule. This article will offer some examples of how holiday parenting time schedules are often arranged, so that both parents share these special days with their children.
Holidays are often alternated each year. A common way to arrange the schedule is to use “even year” and “odd year” designations. That is, one parent shall have the children for certain holidays in even-numbered years (2016, 2018, 2020), and the other parent will have these holidays in odd-numbered years (2017, 2019, etc.) Take a look at the following example:
- Easter: Mother shall have the children in even years starting in 2016, Father shall have the children in odd years starting in 2017
- Memorial Day: Mother has even years, Father has odd years
- Fourth of July: Father even years, Mother odd years
- Labor Day: Father even years, Mother odd years
- Halloween: Mother even years, Father odd years
- Thanksgiving: Father even years, Mother odd years
- Christmas Eve: Mother even years, Father odd years
- Christmas Day: Father even years, Mother odd years
- New Year’s Eve: Father even years, Mother odd years
- New Year’s Day: Mother even years, Father odd years
Memorial Day and Labor Day
These holidays fall on Mondays. A common provision in Parenting Plans is for a parent to have the children continuously from Sunday overnight through Monday, if that parent is scheduled to have the children for the preceding weekend. That is, if a parent is scheduled to have the children the weekend before Labor Day, that parent can have them Friday evening through Monday evening.
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Birthdays
In a typical holiday schedule, Mother will have the children every year on Mother’s Day, and Father will have the children every year on Father’s Day. Mother will have the children every year on her birthday, and Father will have them every year on his birthday. For the children’s birthdays, the parents will alternate having them each year.
Fourth of July
It is important to note that the Fourth of July is not always celebrated on the 4th, but sometimes the 3rd. If July 4th falls on a Sunday or weekday, family members could decide to celebrate on the 3rd, because they will not have work the next day. Parents may want to take this into consideration when arranging this holiday. They can agree to alternate having the “first choice” as to the 3rd or the 4th of July each year.
For Halloween, trick-or-treating time can be shared by both parents. Parents can either alternate years as they do for other holidays, or they can split the trick-or-treating time each year. For example, Father can take the children trick-or-treating from after school until 5 p.m., and Mother can have them from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Parents can alternate years having the entire Thanksgiving day, or split the day with particular hours. For example, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for one parent, then 5 p.m. overnight into the next day for the other parent. If one parent is scheduled to have the preferred portion of the Christmas Holiday, such as Christmas Eve overnight into Christmas Day, the other parent can have the entire day or the preferred portion of Thanksgiving within that same year.
A common arrangement for Christmas is to alternate years having the children overnight on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, the children will then spend time with the other parent for the rest of the day, or overnight until the morning of December 26th. The parents would thereafter alternate years having the children overnight on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Parents might want to take into consideration that it may not be best to exchange the children too early in the morning on Christmas Day – it may be better for the children to enjoy the full Christmas morning before heading to the other parent’s home.
The New Year’s holiday can be arranged similar to Christmas, where one parent has the children for New Year’s Eve into the morning of New Year’s Day, and the other parent has the children from the morning of New Year’s Day through the morning of January 2nd.
Holidays and birthdays usually take precedence over regular parenting time. That is, when holidays or birthdays occur, the scheduled parent will have the children for that holiday, even though the other parent might normally be scheduled to have them on that day.
Other factors which can be considered in arranging a holiday schedule are the family’s cultural practices, or the way that they had arranged holidays in the past if the parents lived separately.
As with all topics relating to parental responsibilities and parenting time, judges generally prefer when parents can work out the schedules between themselves or their attorneys, rather than having court hearings which could leave an emotional impact on everyone involved. This requires cooperation and fairness from both sides. Even if parents do not wish to get the courts involved, hopefully this article will help offer some suggestions on how to arrange the holidays in a way that is best for the whole family.
If you or someone you know wishes to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney regarding an Illinois divorce or child custody case in Will County, Dupage County, or Kendall County, call us at (815) 207-9570.
The information on this site is not legal advice. Retain an attorney licensed in the state which has jurisdiction over your matter before taking any action which affects your legal issues, legal marital status or custody arrangements, and follow the advice of your retained lawyer.