The “add on” option is used primarily for Monday and Friday holidays, such as Good Friday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc., when the parents do not want to allocate these holidays in a more specific manner (such as “split” or “equal and rotational.”) With the “add on” option, the holiday is added to the nearest weekend. Therefore, if the children are with the Father for the weekend immediately preceding Memorial Day, then the Father’s regularly scheduled weekend shall be extended to include the Monday holiday as well.
In an “add on” arrangement, the parent’s agreement might provide:
Monday/Friday Holidays: Any Monday or Friday holidays not otherwise specifically addressed in this Agreement shall be added to the normal weekend schedule. Friday holidays shall begin at 6:00 p.m. Thursday and shall end at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, at which time the normal parenting schedule shall resume. Monday holidays shall begin at 6:00 p.m. Friday and shall end at 6:00 p.m. Monday, at which time the normal parenting schedule shall resume.
Rather than automatically adding Monday/Friday holidays (that have not already been specifically addressed in the Agreement) to the weekend schedule, the parenting plan could provide that these holidays will “fall as they may” while permitting either one of the parents to request to “add on” one of those Monday/Friday holidays to a weekend, even if that weekend is not their normally scheduled weekend. This language might provide:
Monday/Friday Holidays: Either parent may request to take the children for an extended holiday weekend. The normal weekend and holiday schedules shall be waived as necessary. If the holiday is on a Monday, then from 6:00 p.m. Friday until 6:00 p.m. Monday, at which time the normal parenting schedule shall resume. If the holiday is on a Friday, then from 6:00 p.m. Thursday until 6:00 p.m. Sunday, at which time the normal parenting schedule shall resume. No request shall be unreasonably denied. If both parents request the same extended holiday weekend, and a compromise cannot be reached, then the Mother’s request shall prevail for the months of January through June in even years and for the months of July through December in odd years; the Father’s request shall prevail for the months of January through June in odd years and for the months of July through December in even years.
Another variation of the “add-on” option is to assign (to a specific parent) days when the children would otherwise be in school, and not at home with either parent. This would include unscheduled events such as a school closing due to inclement weather. This provision might be as follows:
Unscheduled No-School Days: If the children have no school for any reason other than a holiday or vacation as set forth elsewhere in this Agreement (such as closing school due to inclement weather), the parent with whom the children spent the previous overnight shall be responsible for the children until 6:00 p.m., at which time the normal parenting schedule shall resume.”
This “add-on” provision serves two purposes: (1) it clearly establishes which parent shall be responsible for the children’s supervision when they ordinarily would have been in school, and (2) if the parent does not have to go to work that day, this provision gives that parent an opportunity to stay home and spend unscheduled time with the children.
The “add on” option allows a parent to spend more time with the children. It also makes it possible to travel with the children, perhaps to visit family in a neighboring state. The biggest drawback to the “add on” option is that, depending on how the Monday and Friday holidays fall in any given year, it is possible that one parent may end up with more “add on” Monday or Friday holidays than the other parent. However, over the course of several years, these holidays tend to even out so that the children spend essentially an equal number of Monday and Friday holidays with each parent. Furthermore, as set forth above, the parents can agree to change their normal parenting schedule to facilitate a parent’s spending more time with the children.
Divorcing parents have many options when developing their holiday schedule–we have already discussed the “equal and rotational,” “exclusive,” “split,” and “add on” options. By considering family traditions, travel requirements, and other relevant factors, parents can be very creative, in developing a parenting plan that accommodates the divorced family’s unique situation. In my next blog, I will discuss the “fall as it may” option.
If you have any questions or comments about this article or my mediation practice, or if you have any issues that you would like me to address in a future blog post, please do not hesitate to contact me at: (860) 674-1788 or firstname.lastname@example.org