Holiday parenting time is controlled by when a child is out of school, therefore, your situation may need to be adjusted by a day or two. However, for those parents who follow the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, the following formula dictates parenting time over the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays. For Northwest Allen County Schools in Fort Wayne, Indiana as an example, Winter Break is defined with the last day of school being Thursday, December 16, 2021, and the first day back on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. Over this time period there are 18 overnights, not including the overnight on January 3, 2022.
The Guidelines provide the following schedule:
HOLIDAY PARENTING TIME SCHEDULE:
The Christmas vacation shall be defined as beginning on the last day of school and ending the last day before school begins again. Absent agreement of the parties, the first half of the period will begin two hours after the child is released from school. The second half of the period will end at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school begins again. Each party will receive one half (1/2) of the total days of the Christmas vacation, on an alternating basis as follows:
1. In even numbered years, the custodial parent shall have the first one half (1/2) of the Christmas vacation and non-custodial parent shall have the second one half (1/2) of the Christmas vacation.
2. In odd numbered years, the non-custodial parent shall have the first one half (1/2) of the Christmas vacation and custodial parent shall have the second one half (1/2) of the Christmas vacation.
3. In those years when Christmas does not fall in a parent’s week, that parent shall have the child from Noon to 9:00 P.M. on Christmas Day.
4. No exchanges under this portion of the rule shall occur after 9:00 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m., absent agreement of the parties.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day shall not be considered separate holidays under the Parenting Time Guidelines.
After reviewing the Guidelines, if your child gets out of school on Thursday, December 16, 2021 and goes back on Tuesday, January 4, there are 18 overnights of Winter Break.
One interpretation of the Guidelines for the winter holidays in 2021-2022 is as follows:
- Winter School Break – with noncustodial parent from December 16, 2021 (2 hours after school lets out) until December 25 at Noon, and then then the custodial parent would have the child on December 25 for the remainder of the break.
- Under this school year plan, and how the holidays fall, the exchange time and midway point of Winter Break is Christmas Day. The custodial parent would have Christmas Day anyway beginning at Noon and under this year’s scenario, the children will stay with the custodial parent.
- Don’t forget that the holiday parenting schedule begins 2 hours after school ends. Under the foregoing scenario for Northwest Allen County schools, the parent who normally has parenting time on Thursdays after school will have the children for 2 hours after school ends. If the non-custodial parent traditionally picks up the children from school on Thursdays, then that parent’s holiday time will start immediately after school. Otherwise, the non-custodial parent’s pick up will be 2 hours later – and if school is letting out early that day, that may change when the start of winter break begins.