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Child Custody During the Holidays in Pennsylvania

HOLIDAYS AND CHILD CUSTODY

It is November, which means the holidays are fast approaching. Within a little over a month, many of us will experience Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and/or New Years. These holidays are times for friends, family, food, good times, and of course, child custody fights. That's right, for parents who share custody of minor children the holidays can oftentimes be full of arguing over who gets to spend time with the children. It is certainly understandable that a parent would not want to give up time with their children during such an exciting time. However, it should be every parent's goal to avoid such bickering as it can have a negative impact on the children.

Parents can avoid friction around the holidays with just a little bit of planning. All parents who share custody of minor children should have a detailed plan. Such a arrangement, which is best memorialized in an Order of Court, should include not only a regular week-to-week schedule, but also a holiday schedule. A detailed holiday schedule can help both parents and children better cope with life after a divorce or separation. While such an order can be entered by a judge, parents can also work together to come up with an arrangement that truly works best for their family.

There are many options for splitting holiday time with children. Some parents prefer to alternate even and odd years. For example, Mother may have the children on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve in odd years and on Christmas day and New Years Eve in even years, while Father has the children on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve in even years and on Christmas day and New Years Eve in odd years. Other parents have families that have a big celebration on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas day. In this case, the parents may agree to an arrangement wherein one party has the children every Christmas Eve, while the other party has the children every Christmas day. Some parents prefer to split the actual day. For example, Mother may have the children on Thanksgiving until 3 p.m. and Father may have the children from 3 p.m. until the next day so each parent can have the children celebrate with his or her respective families.

The winter holidays are not the only ones that should be included in a custody order.  Time for Easter, Halloween, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and even the children's and parents' birthdays should also be hammered out in advance to avoid conflict. Oftentimes, parents will alternate custody for most of these holidays as well. However, usually fathers have their children on Father's Day and mothers have their children on Mother's Day. If shared birthday parties are not an option for the separated or divorced parents, they can also alternate who will get the children on their birthdays.

When it comes to holiday schedules, and custody arrangements in general, the possibilities are endless. Contact our experienced family law attorneys today at 724-940-0100 so that we can help you come up with the custody arrangement that works best for you and your children.

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