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Does precedence go to vacation time or the child custody schedule

Even a child custody schedule that both parents agree on can lead to conflicts. It's incredibly important for parents to talk through everything in advance so that they can address issues up front.

One important point is deciding if the vacation schedule or the standard custody schedule takes precedence. This way, everyone knows their expected roles before that vacation arrives.

For example, perhaps a mother and father trade off custody of their children every week, with the kids moving back and forth between the two homes. Every other year, they also switch the Christmas break from school, awarding the entire two-week break to one parent.

So, who gets the children for that second week? Does the standard schedule apply, meaning the children have to spend one week at each house, or does the vacation schedule apply, meaning the standard schedule is suspended until the children go back to school?

Typically, the answer is simple: The vacation schedule supersedes the standard schedule. If it is the mother's turn to have the children over Christmas vacation -- or summer vacation, or any other break from school -- then she does not have to send them back to their father's house when the week ends.

However, you never want to assume that this is how it's going to work. You must have a schedule and a parenting plan in place. It is often best for parents to work together, look into their legal options, and create a plan for the court to approve. However, when parents find themselves unable to do so effectively, the court can take the lead and create a plan for them.

Source: USA Today, "Family Law & Restrictions Regarding Vacation," Teo Spengler, accessed May 18, 2018

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