I am frequently asked questions about holiday parenting time and how that is allocated between divorced parents. Sometimes this can be a contentious issue, especially if one parent wants to bring the children to a family gathering that is out of state.

Generally speaking, Minnesota courts try to allocate holiday parenting time fairly, keeping in mind the needs of the children, and, to a much lesser degree, the wishes of the divorced or separated parents. I think its fair to say that most judges will try to divide up holidays evenly. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are typically considered to be two separate holidays. One parent might be awarded Christmas Eve, including the overnight, and the other parent would then be awarded Christmas Day, from 9:00 a.m. until the following day. It would be unusual for a judge to grant one parent both days, even if a parent wanted to leave the State of Minnesota for a visit with relatives.

Other holidays are treated somewhat differently. They are usually alternated on a yearly basis. The main holidays are New Year’s Eve and Day, Easter, Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July, Labor Day Weekend, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. These generally are alternated between the divorced parents on a yearly basis. Minnesota has an “extra” holiday, namely the MEA break that occurs in October, and this is sometimes included. Also, Father’s Day is always awarded to the father, and Mother’s Day is always awarded to the Mother.

If you are a divorcing or divorced parent and you expect parenting time problems with the upcoming Christmas holidays, you need to take steps to resolve these now. Courts typically don’t have the availability the day before a holiday to resolve disagreements.

I am a Minnesota divorce attorney with an office located in the Carlson Towers in Minnetonka, Minnesota, at the intersection of Highway 494 and Highway 394. If you have any questions about this or any other divorce topic, you should feel free to call me at (952) 270-7700 for a free consultation.

Dan Fiskum
(952) 270-7700