What to Do When Father's Day Falls on HER Day After Divorce

By: Henry Gornbein
Last Update: June 17, 2017

Not being scheduled to have the kids on Father's Day after divorce is a problem that should be resolvable. I have had many cases where a parenting time schedule is not carefully spelled out with the result that problems such as this arise. If you and your former spouse have a good relationship, then it is a matter of talking it through. You can try to work out an arrangement where, in return for your having Father’s Day, she can have some makeup time the following week or on another day.

If she refuses to budge or compromise, then your only option may be to take the matter to court.

Court Is Your Last Option When Debating Father's Day after Divorce 

I have found over the years that the better a couple can communicate the more flexible that the parenting-time schedule can be.

I also believe that it is important to hope for the best and plan for the worst. I recently had a case where the Father would not agree to give Mother’s Day to his former wife because it was not spelled out in the judgment of divorce. This was a high-conflict case where the arbitrator who ruled on the numerous issues failed to spell out all of the holidays.

We are now returning to court and in our petition I am clarifying the parenting time schedule to cover in detail all holidays – including Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Let me provide you with an example of a proposed holiday schedule that leaves little room for arguments over whose day it is.

The courts where I practice have a rule that holiday parenting time takes priority over regular parenting time. This means that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will over rule whether it is Mom’s or Dad’s weekend with the children.I also will typically have the various holidays include the entire weekend. Here is an example that is worth considering if this is an issue that you are faced with.

Father’s Day weekend to Father, Mother’s Day weekend to Mother and then the following holidays should be rotated: Memorial Day weekend from Friday evening until Monday evening, or Tuesday morning, the 4th of July, if you are in the United States, Labor Day weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, sometimes New Years is included and typically Easter is covered as well. For Halloween I recommend that this be alternated or shared depending upon the ages of your children.

Aim for Flexibility Regarding Your Parenting Time Schedule 

The parenting-time schedule should also cover the various breaks – such as Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, winter break, and Easter or Spring break.

I often recommend that the parents divide the Christmas break at noon on Christmas day so that one year Dad will have Christmas eve and the next year Mom will, but both parents will always spend time on Christmas with the children unless there is a logistical problem due to travel.

It is critical to spell out the parenting-time schedule for the holidays in a clear fashion to avoid arguments such as whether Father’s Day should take priority over the normal weekend parenting time that Mom has with the children.

Finally, be specific and get a parenting-time schedule that addresses the holidays in writing as part of your court order or judgment.

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