Custody in Frederick Maryland
2 Components that the Court Recognizes
Legal custody is:
an obligation/privilege to determine issues surrounding a child’s religious, educational and non emergency medical care.
Legal custody does not have to be with one or the other parent, it is usually shared by a child’s parents.
In contrast, physical custody is a more tangible concept. Many words and euphemism surround physical custody with the respective parents such as:
- shared custody
- residential custody, etc.
At the end of the day, all these terms are simply a question of “who has the child(ren) and when”. With that in mind, let us shed some light on the who, where and when of holidays.
This article discusses the “who, where and when” of holidays for kids from single and divorced families. For purposes of discussion, holidays in chronological order are
- New Year’s
- Memorial Day
- 4th of July
- Labor Day
Please note that I included Halloween. Please include Halloween in your discussions about holidays. If you merely “alternate holidays” you may be disappointed to find no banks open or post offices are closed on Halloween. Make sure it is an acknowledged “holiday”.
In a previous article, we discussed vacation and summertime access. With Fall and a return to school, this is a good time to discuss holiday access. The concept of single parents sharing/dividing holidays with the child(ren) is often the focus of heated and expensive legal debate. It should not be.
The Family Court works under a presumption that holidays should be shared, usually by alternating who has the child(ren) during school breaks and holidays. Let’s deal with the easy holiday first. Father’s Day is with Father and Mother’s Day is with Mother. If that is not a rule you can live by, you need to re-evaluate your thinking.
Believe it or not, Christmas is the second easiest holiday to deal with once you get the rules down.
With Christmas, there is a growing trend for the parents to alternate “Christmas A” and “Christmas B.”
This concept is structured under the idea that the predominant Christmas ritual with children is on Christmas morning.
In such a case, the first parent has the child(ren) on December 24th at noon until December 25th at noon (Christmas A). The second parent has the child(ren) on December 25th at noon until December 26th at noon.(Christmas B). In some fortunate cases one parent prefers to have Christmas Eve and the other Christmas Day. Following that, the parents usually split the balance of the Winter/Christmas break with school aged children.
With respect to Thanksgiving, it usually is best working as an offset to Easter. These holidays both involve a few days off of school for school aged children and they are approximately six months apart. For example, one person would get Easter in an odd numbered year and the other person would get Thanksgiving in odd numbered years.
In even numbered years the roles reverse. Based on that, Easter and Thanksgiving are usually swapped each year. In a similar way Halloween and Memorial Day are swapped unless parents make an agreement to the contrary.
The summer holidays are usually treated as a fall-where-they-fall proposition. That is because summer access with each respective parent tends to be taken in bigger blocks than during the school year.
For example, some parents choose to alternate week by week throughout the summer. Others give the primary or school year parent the first and last weeks of the summer and alternate the rest.
Religious Holidays And Family Traditions
Jewish holidays and other religious holidays sometimes coincide with the Christian equivalent seasonal holidays for example, Passover versus Easter and Hanukka versus Christmas. Furthermore, school districts are attempting to meld administrative holidays.
If the parents are of a divergent religion from one another, it is absolutely necessary to put the respective holidays in any agreement. Just because your Jewish or Christian partner did not celebrate religious holidays does not mean his family won’t. Consider also, that the emotional tumult surrounding divorce and single parenthood can make people of any faith move closer to their respective roots.
Lastly, if you have special family traditions such an annual reunions, don’t trust that your ex will believe they are as important as when you were together. It is very rare for parents to lament that their holiday access schedule is too specific so always spell it out.
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