What if Christmas Isn’t Your Bag, Santa?

Did you ever notice that the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (“IPTG”) assume that you celebrate Christmas? The Holiday Parenting Time Schedule makes reference to “Christmas Vacation” and talks about a division of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But what if you are of another religious tradition?

The IPTG provide that, “Religious based holidays shall be considered by the parties and added to the foregoing holiday schedule when appropriate. The addition of such holidays shall not affect the Christmas vacation parenting time, however, they may affect the Christmas day and Easter parenting time.”  Further, the Commentary to the IPTG adds the following: “Recognizing there are individuals of varying faiths who celebrate holidays other than those set out in the guidelines, the parties should try to work out a holiday visitation schedule that fairly divides the holidays which they celebrate over a two-year period in as equal a manner as possible.”

This means that, for example, if you are Jewish, you should be equally dividing what should be referred to as “Winter Break” a/k/a “Christmas Vacation” in the IPTG, and then adding additional language to your parenting plan to cover agreed upon holidays such as Chanukah, Passover, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, among others. Discussion should occur if the child will be celebrating only “major” holidays or all holidays.

The IPTG are merely a guide for how to divide parenting time over the holidays, but if they don’t apply to you, a specific order must be written to protect your child’s religious upbringing and avoid future co-parenting discord. A one-size-fits-all solution is not appropriate in your case, and only an experienced family law attorney can help you craft the unique arrangement that will work for your family. Contact the attorneys at WE Law for help to make your court order work for YOU!

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