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The Twelve Days of Christmas: Which Ones Will You Get For Visitation?

The short answer to this question is that parents are legally bound to follow any court order concerning child custody and visitation, or a separation agreement if there is one. However, the courts encourage parents to be flexible with each other and cooperate with each other to address the details. Examples of the details might include such things as accommodating a change related to the time of day the children will be exchanged or allowing the other grandparents visiting from out-of-state to visit with the children during “your” time.  

If you have no order or agreement, you and the other parent ultimately have to do things by agreement unless or until there is an order or separation agreement. North Carolina has no requirement for holiday visitation to be scheduled any certain way. This is not the case in all states. Some automatically require an assigned holiday visitation schedule unless there is an exception to the rule.     

What Should We Consider?

Parents should also take into account that holiday traditions on both sides of the family that have historically been in place. They often try to split the actual day of Christmas so each parent has an opportunity spend at least a few hours with the children. When parents reside in different cities or states, dividing the actual day might not be practical. Parents may define holiday visitation periods based on the holidays indicated on the school calendar. Agreements or court orders typically assign holiday visitation time so that a parent always has either Thanksgiving or Christmas morning.  One easy way to do this is to say one parent has a holiday on even-numbered years (i.e., 2019, 2020 etc.), and the other has that holiday on odd-numbered years (i.e., 2019, 2021, etc.).  

Other times, parents don’t have the luxury of knowing when they will be able to celebrate a holiday, as may be the case when a parent in the military is deployed. Usually, the estimated time may be used in these circumstances. The agreement might say dad or mom should have about five days of the Christmas holiday, depending on their work schedules. For some children, travel schedules from one state to another dictate when visitation is exercised, particularly if a parent must deal with flight schedules at airports.




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