All Things Family Law

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Thanksgiving & Winter Holiday Parenting Time for 2010-2011

Holiday parenting time is often a source of confusion. The time a parent has the child alternates each year and is affected by when the school break starts and ends. This posting will provide the specific language of the Guidelines and also an interpretation of what the Guidelines provide this year if your child's winter break is from December 17th - January 3th.  Please note that the holiday parenting time is controlled by when a child gets out of school, therefore, may not follow this interpretation.  For instance, this year Carmel Clay Schools' last day is Thursday the 16th, not the 17th.

To discuss this further please contact me.

Here is what the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines say about the winter holidays:

B. Christmas Vacation.
One-half of the period which will begin at 8:00 P.M. on the evening the child is released from school and continues to December 30 at 7:00 P.M. If the parents cannot agree on the division of this period, the custodial parent shall have the first half in even-numbered years. In those years when Christmas does not fall in a parent’s week, that parent shall have the child from Noon to 9:00 P.M. on Christmas Day. The winter vacation period shall apply to pre-school children and shall be determined by the vacation period of the public grade school in the custodial parent’s school district.
C. Holidays.
In years ending with an even number, the non-custodial parent shall exercise the following parenting time:
[1] New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. (The date of the new year will determine odd or even year). From December 30th at 7:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M. of the evening before school resumes.
[4] Thanksgiving. From 6:00 P.M. on Wednesday until 7:00 P.M. on Sunday.

After reviewing the Guidelines, if your child gets out of school on December 17th and goes back on January 4th, one interpretation of the Guidelines for the winter holidays in 2010 is as follows:
Thanksgiving Break - with noncustodial parent in 2010.
Winter School Break - with custodial parent from December 17th at 8 p.m. until December 23rd, then the noncustodial parent would have the child from December 23rd until December 30th at 7 p.m., whereupon the custodial parent would have the child from December 30th at 7 p.m. through January 3rd at 7 p.m. However, the custodial parent would also have the child from noon until 9 p.m. on December 25th(Christmas day).

In sum, the noncustodial parent does not have the child as much over the winter break this year; however, the noncustodial parent gets the Thanksgiving break, Christmas eve as well as Christmas morning.


Recognizing that not everyone celebrates the Christmas holiday, the Guidelines also provide as follows:

Religious based holidays shall be considered by the parties and added to the foregoing holiday schedule when appropriate. The addition of such holidays shall not affect the Christmas vacation parenting time, however, they may affect the Christmas day and Easter parenting timeRecognizing there are individuals of varying faiths who celebrate holidays other than those set out in the guidelines, the parties should try to work out a holiday visitation schedule that fairly divides the holidays which they celebrate over a two-year period in as equal a manner as possible.

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