As a parent, you have a right to spend a certain amount of time with your minor (under age 18) children. During the school year, the schedule your parenting plan stipulates often becomes routine — allowing for you and the other parent to arrange each of your personal and parental responsibilities accordingly. But when summer vacation and other such holidays roll around, the schedule you used during the school year may not be feasible. Furthermore, if you are not the primary parent, holidays offer you an opportunity for extended time with your kids.
Under Florida law, you are allowed to include in your agreed upon parenting plan an alternate time-sharing schedule for the summer months and on select holidays. If the parties don't agree on the parenting plan, then the Court is authorized to include special timesharing for the summer and other holidays. Often the summer and holiday timesharing in a parenting plan will include the following:
- Each parent to spend half of summer vacation with the child
- The parties can agree or the Court can provide that the summer be split on a rotating schedule (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) or in continuous chunks (half the summer with one parent followed by half the summer with the other). If the summer is going to be divided in half, then often during the non-majority timesharing parent's summer, the majority timesharing parent will be entitled to see the child on a schedule usually enjoyed by the non-majority timesharing parent.
- Each parent to have an uninterrupted, extended out-of-town vacation with the child
- Mother’s Day (or the entire weekend) is spent with the mother and Father’s Day (or the entire weekend) is spent with the father
- Thanksgiving, Independence Day, the child’s birthday and the other holidays alternate on a yearly basis, allowing for each parent to spend about half of holidays with the child in a given year.
- If your parenting plan is long-distance, the non-majority timesharing parent is usually entitled to spend all but two weeks of the summer vacation with the child (again, with the majority timesharing parent being allowed to see the child on the non-majority timesharing parent's usual school year schedule.)
Keeping these general ideas in mind can be helpful, particularly if you cannot agree to a parenting plan, because it gives you a general idea of what a Judge might do if you can't agree. But it is important to note that any time-sharing arrangement you and your child’s other parent can agree to without intervention from the court will likely be approved.
This post was composed by Florida family law attorney Deborah Greene with contributions from attorney Andrea Jevic. For more information on parenting plans, consult a lawyer.