You can make a holiday schedule to show where your child will spend holidays and special occasions. This schedule has priority over your basic or routine schedule. Here are some common ways that parents divide and share holiday time:
- Alternate holidays every other year. You can assign holidays to each parent for even years and then swap the holidays in odd years. With this arrangement, you won’t miss spending a holiday with your child more than one year in a row.
- Split the holiday in half. You can split the day of the holiday so that your child spends part of the day with each parent. This arrangement requires planning and coordination because you don’t want your child to spend holidays traveling all day.
- Schedule a holiday twice. You can schedule time for each parent to celebrate a holiday with your child. For example, one parent can celebrate Christmas with the child on Dec. 20th and the other parent on the 25th.
- Assign fixed holidays. You can have each parent celebrate the same holidays with the child every year. If parents have different holidays that they think are important, each parent can have those holidays every year.
- You can use any combination of these ways to divide and share holiday time to create holiday arrangements that allow your child to enjoy family traditions and spend quality time with both parents.
Holiday Schedule Special Considerations
We have children. Can we divide holidays? Who sees the child for birthdays?
Sometimes a holiday schedule will have special considerations because both parents usually want to spend time with the child on or near the holiday. Here are some ideas of how to share and divide these days:
- Your child’s birthday: You can schedule a short visit for the parent who doesn’t have the child on the birthday, give both parents birthday time in the schedule, or the parents can alternate having the birthday.
- Parents’ Birthdays: Your child can spend time with the parent on the parent’s birthday.
- 3 day weekend holidays: These holidays include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day. Parents can alternate the 3 day weekends, split the weekends, or give the Monday holiday to the parent who already has the weekend.
- Mother’s Day and Father’s Day: Usually your child spends every Mother’s Day with the mother and every Father’s Day with the father.
- Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend: One parent can have Thanksgiving Day and the other parent can have the weekend, you can give both parents time on Thanksgiving and on the weekend, or parents can alternate having Thanksgiving and the weekend.
- The Christmas holiday season: One parent can have Christmas Eve and the other parent can have Christmas Day, one parent can have Christmas and the other parent can have winter break, you can make New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day into one holiday and the parents alternate having it.
Holidays to Include in Your Holiday Schedule
What holidays should I ask for? What holidays will I get to spend with my children?
Common holidays to include in your holiday schedule are:
- New Year’s Day—Jan 1st
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day—3rd Monday in Jan
- Lincoln’s Birthday—Feb 12th
- Presidents’ Day/Washington’s Birthday—3rd Monday in Feb
- Spring Break
- Mother’s Day—2nd Sunday in May
- Memorial Day—last Monday in May
- Father’s Day—2nd Sunday in June
- Independence Day—July 4th
- Labor Day—1st Monday in Sept
- Columbus Day—2nd Monday in Oct
- Halloween—Oct 31st
- Veterans Day—Nov 11th
- Thanksgiving—4th Thursday in Nov
- Christmas Eve—Dec 24th
- Christmas Day—Dec 25th
- Winter Break
- New Year’s Eve—Dec 31st
- Your child’s birthday
Other holidays you can include in your holiday schedule are:
- Religious holidays
- State holidays
- Days when your child is out of school, like teacher preparation days
School vacation time, like fall break
- Each parent’s birthday
- Other special occasions
California Parenting Holiday Schedule Order
In California, you can use a form to list you holiday schedule. Click on the following link to download a copy of the California Parenting Holiday Schedule Order for Parenting Time with the Custodial Parent and the Non-Custodial Parent form and instructions.
File Download (PDF File): fl341c – holiday schedule
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For more information on holiday schedules and child custody, click on one of the following links:
California Child Custody Issues
The Law Offices of Edward Misleh, APC
California Court Judicial Branch