Who Gets to Share Which Holiday with the Children?
We have previously addressed holiday parenting time in the context of divorce and separation. See Fall is Here, Act Now to Avoid Holiday Parenting Time Trouble! The year end brings religious and non religious holidays coupled with time off from work and school. Combine all these elements and the result can be turmoil for separated parents.
New Jersey family law courts start with the premise that it is usually in a child’s best interest to have meaningful and continuing contact with each parent. The courts believe that the child benefits when both parents nurture their child in their own and unique way. It is no secret that scheduling parenting time is more difficult when parents no longer share the same household. This can be particularly true during the holidays.
To address the special needs of separated parents and their children during the holidays, the New Jersey Family Part Courts have adopted a “standard” holiday parenting time schedule. The holiday parenting time schedule is not required by statute or case law. However, it is often adopted and/or incorporated in parties property settlement agreements because it is widely viewed as fair and equitable.
This is not to say that Holiday Parenting time guidelines are inflexible. Often times the parenting time for a particular holiday can be changed to meet the needs of the parents and children. In practice, the holiday parenting time schedule can be modified, without incident, with good communication between the parents. A child whose parents no longer live together have unique needs related to the parent-child relationship. Parents should consider these needs as they negotiate parenting time especially around the holidays.
The holiday parenting time schedule should be used as a fallback position when the parents cannot come to a specific agreement for a given holiday. The schedule can also be changed on a year-to-year basis again, this is all the by way of agreement which should always be confirmed in some form of a writing (consent order, e-mail, or as a last resort text message).
We are here to help. Compassionate, experienced and zealous representation is only an email or phone call away. If you or someone you know is grappling with a custody, parenting time or holiday schedule dispute in New Jersey, contact the family law attorneys at DeMichele & DeMichele online today. Your confidential initial consultation can also be scheduled by calling our family law attorneys: (856) 546-1350.