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How is Holiday Custody or Parenting Time Handled in a Michigan Divorce?

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Dec 06, 2023 | 0 Comments

Photo by Lawrence Chismorie on Unsplash

Custody and more accurately, parenting time schedules in Michigan generally refer to parental rights with regards to a minor child and with whom a minor child will be at any given time during a week or weekend.  There are many different types of parenting time schedules that might be utilized depending on the situation.  Some parents will have equal parenting time with alternating weeks or days, some will have only weekend parenting time with one parent and weekday parenting time with another, in some cases the parenting time may have to be restricted or supervised and in some cases one parent may have the children during the summer and some school breaks while the other parent has the child during the school year and some school breaks.  In most cases, there will be a separate or different parenting time schedule that will apply during various civic or religious holidays.  If you are considering a divorce or are having issues with your parenting time schedule, please do not hesitate to contact us through our online consultation form or by calling our office at (248) 608-4123.

How is Holiday Parenting Time Handled in a Michigan Divorce?

As stated above, there is typically a separate schedule for civic and religious holidays.  The most common method of handling the holidays is for the the parents to alternate holidays, so that one parent would have the holiday on even years and the other has that holiday on even years.  Then the parties will also alternate the holidays sequentially so if one parent has the children for Labor Day weekend, the other parent would have the children for Thanksgiving that year.  Then that would flip the following year so that the parent who had the children with them for Labor Day this year would have them for Thanksgiving the following year and the parent that had them for Thanksgiving the previous year would have them for Labor Day.

While the above alternating holiday parenting time schedule is typical, these schedules can be tailored to meet each family's particular situation.  For instance, some families traditionally celebrate Christmas Eve with one side of the family, in this case, it would make sense for that parent to always have Christmas Eve and the other parent to always have Christmas Day, particularly once the children are a little older as Christmas morning tends to get a little less exciting for teenagers.  Or one side of the family may always have a big Fourth of July party so it might make sense for that parent to always have the Fourth and the other parent to have another civic holiday.  One way or the other, the holiday parenting time schedule is not set in stone, the parents can agree to handle it differently than what is indicated in the schedule from one year to the next or if there is an issue, one parent can file a motion with the court and request that the judge order some small changes to the holiday schedule.

In addition, the parents will often alternate the breaks from school, split the long Christmas/New Year break and there may also be a different schedule for the summer.  Finally, holiday parenting time and vacation parenting time supersede the ordinary parenting time schedule and takes precedence over it, so that if one parent misses what would otherwise have been their regular weekend due to a holiday, that weekend is just missed.  This means that there will be some occasions where one parent may have the children three weekends in a row due to the holiday parenting time schedule and vice versa.  

If you have any questions regarding divorce, separation, custody or parenting time, it is wise to have a meeting with a knowledgeable family law attorney.  Please do not hesitate to contact us by filling out our online consultation request or by calling us at (248) 608-4123.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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