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Whose home for the holidays? It's all in your parenting plan.

Christmas music hasn't hit the airwaves yet, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start thinking about the holidays. If you're separated or divorced, this emotional time of year can become even more so if it's not clear when you're going to be with the kids.

Luckily, the standard parenting plan that Tennessee courts use includes holiday scheduling. When establishing or updating a parenting plan, you'll need to decide which parent your children will be with on each holiday. The permanent parenting form requires parents to "indicate if child or children will be with parent in ODD or EVEN numbered years or EVERY year."

So, for example, you might decide that the children will be with you on Thanksgiving and their other parent on New Year's Day during odd numbered years and the reverse on even numbered years. Remember that parenting plans don't just include big holidays; other special days you'll want to think about include:

  • Mother's Day and Father's Day
  • Halloween
  • Parents' birthdays
  • Children's birthdays
  • Other school-free days

Unless you decide otherwise, these holidays will begin at 6 p.m. the night before and end at 6 p.m. the night of the day in question.

One exception is Christmas, which falls under a separate "Winter (Christmas) Vacation" agreement in the plan. Unless you decide otherwise, whoever has the children for winter vacation would also have the children for Christmas. It might be worth considering whether one parent would want to see the children for at least a day or two during this period, which you could incorporate into your parenting plan.

Whether you're creating or updating a parenting plan, your divorce attorney can help you work through these and other issues. Knowing what to expect can make the upcoming holiday season more festive for everyone involved.

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Lisa Collins Werner Family Law & Mediation Compassion. Experience. Results

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