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How does holiday parenting time work?

With Thanksgiving just past, many Rockford, Illinois, parents are probably busily making preparations for the Christmas season. Whether they observe Christmas as a religious holiday, commemorate another holiday from their own faith during this time or just take the season as an opportunity to have fun and be close to loved ones, parents usually look forward to their children being out of school.

For parents who live separately, however, the upcoming holiday season can also lead to child custody and parenting time issues. Conflict often erupts, for instance, when both parents have goals and plans for being with their children over the holiday break, and these plans conflict with those of the other parent.

Like other aspects of parenting responsibilities, Illinois law does not set out bright line rules about holiday parenting time. Ideally, parents are able to come to some agreements, and their attorneys memorialize these agreements in a clear order that is easy to understand and follow.

When agreement is not possible, though, a judge makes decisions about the holidays based on what he or she feels is in the best interest of the child involved. Although the parents' desires and even the child's wishes play a role in the judge's decision, there are many other factors a judge will also consider when coming up with a holiday parenting schedule. Local rules and practices may also apply to a given court or even to an individual judge.

While no one wants to have a parenting time issue over the holidays, sometimes, these are unavoidable. When they emerge, a parent should strongly consider getting the help of an experienced family law attorney.

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