When crafting your parenting plan with your co-parent, you have to specify which parent will have your children for which holidays. Typically, the major holidays are alternated annually. However, if a parent has particular holidays that are especially important to him or her, accommodations can be made.

You may hear your holiday parenting time schedule referred to as “Wilson v. Wilson” parenting time. This refers to the Nebraska Supreme Court case where major holidays were identified and time sharing explained. Wilson identified the following holidays as “major”:

  1. Easter,
  2. Memorial Day weekend,
  3. Fourth of July,
  4. Labor Day weekend,
  5. Thanksgiving,
  6. Christmas (may split into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), and
  7. New Year’s Day.

Usually, your plan will identify which parent has which holidays in even-numbered and odd-numbered years. For example, your plan could state that the above-listed even-numbered holidays will be the mother’s in even-numbered years (and the father will have the even-numbered holidays in odd-numbered years). Additionally, most plans include Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as major holidays.

If you do not celebrate some (or any) of these holidays, you and your co-parent may modify your holiday parenting time schedule to include those you do observe. For example, plans may include Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, or Halloween. Plans may also include provisions for the children’s or parents’ birthdays.

Holiday parenting time will almost always supersede regular parenting time. Some parents may consider splitting holidays, however, doing so is discouraged. Splitting holidays can create stress for both your children and you, especially when attempting to end the fun time your children are having at the earlier celebration. While you may agree to celebrate holidays jointly with your co-parent, be aware that your co-parent may bring along a significant other, spouse, or other children.

Nebraska law requires that the seven major holidays plus Mother’s and Father’s Day be listed in your parenting plan, even if only to state that regular parenting time will control for the holiday.

You may find the following table helpful in determining your holiday parenting time schedule:

As holiday time is almost in full-swing, it is important for you and your children to have clarity and peace-of-mind regarding holiday parenting time. Your family law attorneys at Koenig│Dunne are skilled at developing creative solutions to accomplish your holiday parenting time wishes.

Lindsay Belmont