Legal Insights / Family Law / How Parenting Arrangements Could Affect Family Events & Holidays

How Parenting Arrangements Could Affect Family Events & Holidays

Dec 26 2017
How Parenting Arrangements Could Affect Family Events & Holidays

Following separation or divorce, it is important to consider how parenting arrangements may affect upcoming family events and holiday plans. It is common for children to be on a rotating schedule and parents are generally required to share holidays. Depending on how you plan for these holidays and special events, your children may not be in your care at the time of a family event or holiday.



If you are entering into any agreement that deals with parenting arrangements, you will want to make sure that in addition to setting a regular parenting schedule, your agreement includes provisions regarding holidays and special events.

If it is important that you spend time with your children on a specific religious or cultural holiday, you should make sure that any parenting agreement you enter into contains provisions regarding how time on these holidays will be divided. If you do not, then the regular parenting schedule will remain in force and you may not have your children in your care on your favorite holiday.

You will also want to consider whether you prefer to have your regular parenting schedule continue during school holidays, such as winter break, or whether you prefer to have an alternative schedule in place when your children are not in school.

If you have entered into a parenting agreement that does not deal with holiday and special event parenting arrangements, you can negotiate with the other parent to amend your agreement to include these types of provisions. Any such agreement should be put in writing and executed by both parties in the presence of witnesses. If the other parent is not agreeable and issues arise surrounding special occasion and holiday parenting time, you may need to apply in court to vary your parenting agreement.



If you are involved in a court action regarding parenting arrangements, you should seek to have provisions regarding special occasions and holidays incorporated into your order, as outlined above.

In the event that you have an existing order in place that provides a schedule for regular parenting time but does not deal with special occasions and holidays, you may negotiate with the other party and enter into an agreement for that. Remember that the agreement should be in writing and signed by both parties in the presence of witnesses.


Disagreements Regarding Special Occasion and Holiday Parenting Arrangements

If you do not have an agreement or order in place that deals with special events or holiday parenting arrangements, and you anticipate that an issue may arise, you should make attempts to address the issue with the other party well in advance. In the event that you are unable to reach an agreement, you may apply in court to vary the existing order or agreement to provide for the sharing of holiday and special occasion parenting time or to obtain an order regarding a specific event. This should be done well in advance of the holiday or special occasion in question. Remember that you will need to convince the court that it is in the best interests of the children to vary the existing order or agreement.
If you are unable to have your existing order or agreement varied prior to the holiday or special occasion in question, you will need to make plans to celebrate that holiday or special occasion with your children during your regularly scheduled parenting time. While a parent has his or her parenting time, any day-to-day decisions are made by that parent, including whether the children may attend an event or holiday celebration with the other parent.

If you feel that official changes are needed to your parenting scheduled or if your ex-spouse is refusing to honor the existing parenting schedule, you may have to go to court to solve the issue. If you need to vary an existing order or agreement or deal with any other family law issue, it’s a good idea to consult with a legal professional who has experience in family law.




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