All custody schedules include both a day-to-day physical custody schedule as well as a special holiday schedule. Holiday schedules always take precedence over the day-to-day schedule, which means a party may lose or gain custody time depending on when a holiday occurs.
Holidays are either alternated between the parties on an annual basis or shared between them. Most “minor holidays” – such as Memorial Day, July Fourth, and Labor Day – are alternated each year between the parties. For instance, mother would exercise custody on Memorial Day in even-numbered years and father would exercise custody in odd-numbered years.
For “major holidays” – such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas – the parties are more likely to share the holidays. Christmas is routinely divided into two separate schedules; for example, Christmas Eve at noon until Christmas Day at noon, and Christmas Day at noon until December 26 at noon. These two schedules may be alternated between the parties so that each party may have the opportunity every other year to celebrate Christmas Eve with the child.
Cara Boyanowski is a family lawyer at Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP in Harrisburg, PA. Learn more about the firm by visiting www.obermayerfamilylaw.com and their Divorce Magazine profile.
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