Holiday Parenting Time Modifications

It seems like in every case there comes a time where the holiday parenting time schedule is modified by the parties by agreement, for one reason or another. Perhaps there is a Family Reunion over July 4th weekend on Mom’s side of the family and it is during Dad’s year, so they agree to switch. Or, sometimes there is a family wedding over Memorial Day Weekend for Dad’s side of the family, but Memorial Day falls on Mom’s weekend. Usually parties are able to agree to modify the parenting schedule for holidays without a court order. Sometimes court intervention is required. However, it is important to recognize what these agreed upon changes can mean for the rest of the year as far as parenting time.

Different parenting time agreements are drafted with different provisions, some of which are more common than others. Some parenting time agreements have provisions in which the parties are never allowed to have more than two (2) consecutive weekends, and it provides that the 3rd weekend would go to the other parent automatically, and then the schedule either resets, or continues on as it was written. This protects parents who alternate weekends, but then the weekend in between mom’s two weekends happens to be mother’s day, so she’d then have three in a row. That protects the other parent. However, some agreements are completely silent as to these nuances, and changing or swapping a holiday may create a scenario where one parent has a disproportionately larger amount of holiday time, weekend time, etc. with the minor children. Some parties switch their holidays and then mistakenly believe that the following year will be their year, because they gave up last year. If the agreement doesn’t specifically say this, then it is false, so be cautious when giving up a holiday.

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