Child Support Holiday Schedules in Pennsylvania
When a family unit dissolves during a divorce, “family holidays” and traditions are also affected. It is within everyone’s interest to minimize the effect on the children, encourage the parental/child bond, and build new holiday traditions using a carefully crafted holiday custody schedule.
Usual Holidays in PA Divorce Agreements
While parents are free to add or delete holidays in their parenting plan, the following are usual holidays addressed in PA divorce agreements:
- Christmas Eve
- Christmas Day
- Christmas/Winter Vacation
- New Year’s Eve
- New Year’s Day
- New Year’s Day (12:00 p.m. January 1st to 6:00 p.m.)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- President’s Day
- Spring Vacation
- Memorial Day
- Mother’s Day
- Father’s Day
- July 4th
- Labor Day
- Rosh Hashana
- Yom Kippur
- Columbus Day
- Thanksgiving/ Thanksgiving Break
- Father’s birthday
- Mother’s birthday
- Child’s birthday
Planning a Child Custody Holiday Schedule
Dates, times, work schedules, previous family traditions, and future family goals are all important considerations when memorializing the holiday rotations and time of day you expect the child to leave/return. Parents should consider the best interest of the child before their own interests when creating the holiday schedule.
While it can be emotionally devastating not spending Christmas with your child, it may be even harder on them if you create a schedule that requires them to be in multiple locations only to satisfy each parent’s desire. For instance, if you have always traveled to one parent’s family cabin for multiple days over Christmas, it may be far more destructive to the child to mandate that they can only spend Christmas Eve there then must return to the other parent at a set time on Christmas morning.
Giving careful consideration to the needs of the children to maintain as much normalcy in their lives as possible is a hallmark of good holiday scheduling.
Your Type of Child Custody
When planning the holiday schedule it is very important to understand the type of custody the parent has. For example, in the event of supervised physical custody, the holiday schedule would need to conform to the custody order. An experienced family law attorney can advise you on these nuances to help protect your rights and your child.
Why You Should Make a Custody Holiday Schedule
A well-crafted holiday custody schedule enables the parents to have a clear guide to the expectations of each of them and for the child to know what the future holds related to holidays and vacations. Having this in place, well before the holidays, minimizes stress, the unknown, the unplanned and last-minute conflicts.
Prioritizing a Holiday Schedule
The holiday schedule takes priority over the regular schedule. The easiest example is Thanksgiving. If the child is with one parent on Thursdays on the regular physical custody schedule, but it is the other parent’s turn to have Thanksgiving with the child, the parent with the holiday prevails.
Summary of Child Support Holiday Schedules
It is never too early to start planning holiday and vacation schedules. Careful thought and effort put into creating the holiday schedule and understanding the timetables now helps prevent misunderstandings and potential issues in the future. An experienced family law attorney can assist you in creating a holiday schedule that allows you to enjoy the holidays with your child. Contact the Schwartz Law Firm for more information and put our decades of experience to work for you.