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50/50 Custody Holiday Schedules: A Joint Custody Visitation Guide

child custody holiday visitation schedule

Are you concerned with conflict over who gets the kids for the holidays?

Co-parenting is often a stressful and emotional experience. Maybe a messy divorce or breakup left both parents bitter and resentful toward one another. One or both parents may be digging their heels in when it comes to coming up with a parenting plan that works for everyone – especially the kids.

Sound familiar?

You’ll be happy to know that sharing parenting time with your ex doesn’t have to be so strained forever. Florida time-sharing guidelines require parents to work together to share their parental responsibility and enjoy their parental rights – and a child custody holiday timesharing schedule is a big part of that.

If you’re struggling to agree on a holiday custody schedule or some other portion of your parenting plan, a Miami child custody lawyer can help.


What is a Parenting Plan?

Parenting plans are agreements between two people who are co-parenting, and they include details regarding each parent’s parental rights and responsibilities.

The plans are typically drafted during divorce settlement proceedings and often include several different points that are agreed upon, including:

  • The parental responsibility arrangement (shared parental responsibility, sole parental responsibility, or ultimate decision-making responsibility)
  • The physical custody arrangement (timesharing schedule)
  • Special occasions, holidays, and vacation schedules
  • How additional costs will be covered
  • Child support terms
  • How children will be transported and exchanged
  • How parents will communicate with the children and one another
  • Provisions for how the plan will be altered when the child reaches certain ages

A parenting plan can include any provisions the parents would like, but a judge will ultimately determine child custody and whether the plan is in the child’s best interest and is court-ordered.


Benefits of Creating a Child Custody Holiday Timesharing Schedule

Many parents assume they’ll figure out holidays and special occasions as they come up.

However, holiday schedules that are set in advance are beneficial because they:

Having a plan in place for special periods in your kids’ lives will ensure that the memories made are full of joy and peace.


Special Days, Holidays, and Time Periods to Include in Timesharing Schedules

There are special times sprinkled throughout every year. Whether it’s holidays, birthdays, celebrations, or vacations, each parent has the right and the responsibility to be with their children and create memories during these times.

The Christmas season is one period people tend to be on top of when organizing a schedule for their kids between the two parents. However, there are many other periods you may not have thought of, and those need to be included in your plan to avoid conflict.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the special days and holiday periods you shouldn’t forget in your visitation schedule.

Major Holidays

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter are the most common holidays that both parents want to spend with their kids. The problem is each parent wants to spend the actual holiday with their kids, which isn’t always easy to do between two houses. Additionally, kids don’t want to miss out on time with each parent and extended family gatherings on either side. Planning in advance is important so memorable holidays aren’t marred by conflict and disappointment.

Spring, Summer, and Winter Breaks

A hot time period for family vacations, each school district’s summer break seems to fall on different days. Some parents alternate having their kids every other year so that a long trip can be planned while others split the time evenly every year to have that extra time with their children.

Holiday Weekends

All those long holiday weekends throughout the year are perfect for making mini-getaway plans, camping, or even throwing parties. Schedule these out so you can plan your kids’ weekend fun comfortably and without conflict.

  • President’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Make sure your alternating schedule is ahead so that each parent can enjoy this special Sunday time with the child.

Child’s Birthday

Your children’s birthdays are one of the most important days of the year for them. Whether you typically throw a party, have a few friends over, or plan an outing for your little one’s birthday, make sure you’ve talked through the plans with the other parent so that the special day goes off without a hitch.

Parent’s Birthday

Kids want to be with their parents on the adult’s birthday too. Whether you want it to be on the day itself or the coinciding weekend to celebrate, ensure you’ve planned to have your kids with you for your birthday fun.

Days Off From School

Every school calendar has at least a few days throughout the school year where kids can stay home for the day and have a break. Many parents take their own PTO at work to spend time with their children during school holidays. Make sure you check out your school district’s online calendar and divvy these days up appropriately.

Upcoming Celebrations

It seems like you always forget at least one important celebration you want your kids to be a part of. Then you’re left negotiating, begging, or even arguing with the other parent to make post-agreement changes. Check your calendar for upcoming weddings, anniversaries, graduations, or special birthday events that your kids won’t want to miss, and include those in the schedule.


Methods for Sharing Holiday Time Between Parents

Co-parents have used various methods to determine how the holidays will be split between parents. Here are some of the most successful ways to make a child custody holiday timesharing schedule.

Share Major Holidays and School Breaks

One popular method for splitting up major holidays and school breaks is for parents to split the time as equally as possible each year. For example, maybe one parent has the kids for the week of Christmas, then the other parent takes over for the week of New Year’s. Similarly, for spring break, the child may spend the first part of the week with one parent and the second with the other.

It’s a good idea to alternate which parent has which end of the holiday break every year so that children can experience things like Christmas morning and New Year’s Eve with each of their parents occasionally.

Split Holidays

Some parents go even further to ensure that kids get important holiday time with each parent by splitting the actual day down the middle. For example, one parent may have the children the first half of Christmas day until noon, and the other takes over from afternoon to evening.

Alternate Holidays and Breaks

Other parents decide – since they want to have unrushed and uninterrupted holiday time with their children – that the best way to address the holidays is to alternate each special day in the year. For example, if one parent has the kids for the full week to celebrate Christmas, the other parent would have them for the week of New Year’s.

This works particularly well for long holiday weekends as well. One parent may plan to take the kids on an Independence Day weekend trip, but the other parent would get the kids for Labor Day weekend for a family cookout.

Most parents that adopt this holiday visitation schedule will alternate which holidays they get the kids year-to-year so that, for example, one parent would get the kids for Christmas week on odd years, and the other parent would do the same on even years.


How a Miami Family Law Attorney Can Help

Sharing your kids with another person is stressful. Not only do you miss out on time with your children, but the relationship between people who are co-parenting is often strained, emotionally charged, and even downright bitter.

Because of this, parents often have a difficult time agreeing on things like holiday timesharing schedules. If you find that you and your ex can’t find common ground, you need the help of an experienced Miami family law attorney to navigate the legal process of getting a parenting plan form filed and court-ordered.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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