Parenting Time During the Holidays
With summer over, the holidays are just around the corner and families are starting to make their holiday plans. Parents who have recently divorced often worry that they will not get to share in the bonding moments with their children because of custody reasons.
The state of Illinois does not restrict parental visitations unless they are not in the child’s best interest. The topic of holiday celebrations is left up to the parents’ decision which can be talked about through mediation or on their own.
There are several strategies to come to an agreement that everyone can be happy with:
- Alternate who the child(ren) spend the holidays with from year to year - make sure to specify which holidays are in question.
- Split the day; for example, Mom spends Christmas morning with the children and Dad spends Christmas evening with the children.
- Celebrate each holiday twice on separate days; for example, the children spend Christmas Eve with Mom and Christmas Day with Dad.
These strategies can also be used for personal holidays such as a child’s birthday.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
Illinois law does divide parenting time that is suitable for the child’s best interest. The court will assume that both parents are fit to spend time with their children unless one parent brings evidence to the family court judge to prove that the other is not fit to satisfy the child’s mental or physical needs.
Things that can be looking into when determining what is in the child’s best interest include:
- Parent’s conduct with the parenting partner
- Parent’s prior legal record
- Child’s wishes
- Child’s adjustment to home and/or school
- Distance between parents’ houses
- Parent’s ability to put the child’s needs ahead of their own
The allocation of parental responsibilities does not include holiday or birthday schedules because these are special events, not “every day” time that should be scrutinized. The parents should try to be the ones to come up with the agreement for holidays.
If this is not a decision they can make on their own, they can bring up the topic of holiday time during a mediation session or even seek advice from a family counselor.
Contact a St. Charles, IL Visitation Lawyer
The holidays should be a special time of year to celebrate with the ones you love. If you or someone you know is struggling to come to an agreement about child visitation over the holidays, contact a lawyer from Shaw Family Law, P.C. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County parental visitation lawyer, call 630-584-5550.