Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

Accounting for Holidays and School Breaks in Your Illinois Parenting Plan

 Posted on September 09, 2021 in Divorce

Sugar Grove family law attorneyIt may be hard to believe, but Christmas is just a few months away. If you are a parent who plans to divorce or has already started the divorce process, it is important to consider how you will account for holidays in your parenting plan. Where a child will spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, and other holidays is often a major point of contention. Many parents have strong feelings about who their child should spend these special days with. Holidays can also present co-parenting challenges because of the disruption in school and childcare routines.

Parenting Time Schedules in Your Illinois Parenting Plan

Although we still use the words “custody” and “visitation” informally to refer to parenting matters in a divorce, Illinois laws no longer use these words to refer to child custody matters. Instead, parents decide on an allocation of parental responsibilities, or decision-making authority, and parenting time, or time spent caring for the child.

Illinois law requires divorcing parents to submit a parenting plan to the court for approval within 120 days of seeking a custody order. The parents may agree on the plan’s terms and submit the plan jointly, or if they cannot agree, parents may submit separate plans. When parents cannot agree, the court typically requires the parents to attend mediation. If an out-of-court agreement still cannot be made, the court may decide on the parenting plan terms for the parents.

Holidays and School Breaks

Many parents can reach an agreement about the basic components of their parenting time schedule. For example, they may agree that the child will spend Monday through Wednesday with one parent and Thursday through Sunday with the other parent. However, parents must also decide how to handle birthdays, religious holidays, vacations, and school breaks. You may be able to negotiate an arrangement with the other parent that divides holidays or other special occasions based on each parent’s preferences or religious beliefs. Conversely, you may decide to alternate holiday parenting time each year. For example, one parent would get the child on Christmas Day 2021, but the other parent would have parenting time on Christmas Day 2022. Whatever you decide, it is important to address all important details, including transportation, parenting exchanges, and any possible deviations from the plan. A strong parenting plan can help create stability for your child and reduce the chances of co-parenting conflict in the future.




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