Most individuals negotiating visitation or parenting agreements with their ex-partner neglect holiday and vacation parenting time. Their main focus is on the regular day to day, week to week parenting time. They are trying to obtain the most equal parenting schedule they can or are striving for a 50/50 schedule. They argue and debate the merits of doing equal parenting time which is difficult for most families and usually not in the children’s best interest. Huge battles are waged over getting that extra overnight with the kids during the work week when if successful only amounts to a couple of waking hours with the children at best. Demanding employment, long commutes, errands, exercising, all take up a lot of time Monday through Friday. Add in children’s activities, homework, and desire to hang out with friends as they get older, increased parenting time during the week does not add much to divorced parents lives.
If you are striving to have more time with your children, consider negotiating more time over school breaks and holidays. This is an area where you can make up lost days to achieve a closer to equal parenting schedule with your ex.
Winter, Spring and Summer Break
Winter break does not need to be divided equally. The non-residential parent can negotiate more time. Spring Break can also be the non-residential parent’s parenting time every year. Each parent should have some vacation time in the summer, however, the non-residential parent should have at least one week more than the residential parent to make up for lost time.
Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Weekend
These holidays also do not need to be alternated every year. Memorial and Labor Day may be difficult to negotiate every year. However, MLK Day and President’s Day weekend probably not. Also, Thanksgiving Day should be alternated every year, but the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving should be with the non-residential parent.
When making your argument for more time during the holidays, calculate the number of days you will have in a calendar year compared to the residential parent. One parent should not have every holiday every year, however, the parent who is not deemed the residential parent should receive a disproportionate share of the holiday vacation days.