What is a typical parenting plan or schedule for Christmas and the holidays?

The holidays are stressful.  Period.  And if you are dealing with scheduling issues for your children, they are even more so.  If you have a parenting plan in Washington state, you’ll notice there is a section devoted to the residential schedule during the winter holidays.  This supersedes the regular, school-year schedule, and provides some certainty for both parents.

But you might be asking “what is a typical holiday schedule?”  Or, “is my Christmas and holiday schedule fair?”  That’s hard to say.  When a court orders a holiday schedule, it will usually look at the historical schedule the parties have been following.  In other words, what have you and the other parent been doing for the years before you came to court.  This plays a large part in the court’s decision, since it wants to ensure consistency in your child’s schedule.  However, holiday time is generally treated a little differently than other time during the year.  Often, a court will order an equal split during the holiday, even if one parent is the primary parent.  For example, the Clark County local court rule have a suggested visitation schedule for the winter holiday:

Clark County Local Rule 06.(i)(3): Winter holidays. In odd-numbered years (whether or not the children are in school, as calculated by the local school year calendar), winter holiday time beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day school recesses and continuing until December 24th at 8:00 p.m.; in even-numbered years, December 24th from 8:00 p.m. and continuing until noon the day before school commences.

As you can see, this suggested schedule allows both parents to see their child for half of the winter break.  It also splits the actual holidays depending on year, so neither parent always has Christmas Day or Christmas Eve.  This might not be a perfect schedule, but it is helpful in coming up with a schedule that works for you and the other parent.

Washington state local county rules such as this, and the historical residential schedule should help you come up with a Christmas and holiday schedule that is best for your child, and you the parents.  If you have further questions about the relocation process, or other divorce and custody questions, please give us a call at 360-695-3695.

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