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Christmas Break Parent-time 2017 – how it works

NOTE: this will explain how to calculate Christmas break parent-time for any period, in any year (but we’ll use 2017 as an example).

QUESTION: I’m trying to figure out what day it ends if Christmas break in our child’s school district is 13 days in length this year (2017); school is dismissed for Christmas break the afternoon of December 20th. I don’t know if my ex gets our child until December 25th or 26th.

ANSWER (and special thanks to Heather Vanduker for her help with this): This is the best, most equal way I can interpret the law governing Christmas vacation, so that it is divided as equally as reasonably possible.

It’s not 13 days, it’s 12, and if you and your ex are working under the provisions of Utah Code Section 30-3-35(2), then the non-custodial parent’s half of the Christmas break 2017 period ends December 26th at 7:00 p.m. See below for the explanation.

First, here is how Christmas break is defined in the Utah Code:

Utah Code Section 30-3-32(3):

(3) For purposes of Sections 30-3-32 through 30-3-37:

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(b) Subject to Subsection (5), “Christmas school vacation” means:

(i) for a single child, the time period beginning on the evening the child is released from school for the Christmas or winter school break and ending the evening before the child returns to school; and

(ii) for multiple children when the children’s school schedules differ, the time period beginning on the first evening all children’s schools are released for the Christmas or winter school break and ending the evening before any of the children returns to school.

If you and your ex are working under the provisions of Utah Code Section 30-3-35(2), then these provisions apply in even- and odd-numbered years:

Odd-numbered Years

(f)(viii) the first portion of the Christmas school vacation as defined in Subsection 30-3-32(3)(b) including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, continuing until 1 p.m. on the day halfway through the holiday period, if there are an odd number of days for the holiday period, or until 7 p.m. if there are an even number of days for the holiday period, so long as the entire holiday period is equally divided.

Even-numbered Years

(g) (viii) the second portion of the Christmas school vacation as defined in Subsection 30-3-32(3)(b), beginning 1 p.m. on the day halfway through the holiday period, if there are an odd number of days for the holiday period, or at 7 p.m. if there are an even number of days for the holiday period, so long as the entire Christmas holiday period is equally divided.

With 2017 being an odd-numbered year, that means that Christmas break parent-time would be shared and exercised as follows (I am assuming that there is either one child or that all children are dismissed on the same day):

First, note that 7:00 p.m. on December 26th is the the mid-point between “the evening” of Dec 20th and 7:00 p.m. on the evening of January 1. So if we treat “the evening of the day the child is released from school” as starting around 7:00 p.m. (even if you actually pick up the kids immediately after school, we can all agree that Day 1 is not a full 24-hour period), then the holiday period is actually 12 days, not 13. Watch, I’ll show you below.

December 20, starts in the evening. Even if you pick up the kids immediately after school, some parents don’t, so for calculation purposes, we’ll start “the evening” at 7:00 p.m. on December 20th.

So if we count days from 7:00 p.m. on Day 1 until 7:00 p.m. on Day 2, and so on, we get:

Day 1, 7:00 p.m., December 20 until 7:00 p.m. December 21: children with the non-custodial parent for at least a full 24-hour period

Day 2, 7:00 p.m., December 21 until 7:00 p.m. December 22: children with the non-custodial parent for a full 24-hour period

Day 3, 7:00 p.m., December 22 until 7:00 p.m. December 23: children with the non-custodial parent for a full 24-hour period

Day 4, 7:00 p.m., December 23 until 7:00 p.m. December 24: children with the non-custodial parent for a full 24-hour period

Day 5, 7:00 p.m., December 24 until 7:00 p.m. December 25: children with the non-custodial parent for a full 24-hour period

Day 6, 7:00 p.m., December 25 until 7:00 p.m. December 26: children with the non-custodial parent for a full 24-hour period

TOTAL periods spent with noncustodial parent to this point = 6 twenty-four-hour periods. At this point we make the exchange at 7:00 p.m. December 26th

Day 7 starts December 26 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. December 27: children with the custodial parent.

Day 8, 7:00 p.m., December 27 until 7:00 p.m. December 28: children with the custodial parent

Day 9, 7:00 p.m., December 28 until 7:00 p.m. December 29: children with the custodial parent

Day 10,  7:00 p.m., December 29 until 7:00 p.m. December 30: children with the custodial parent

Day 11, 7:00 p.m., December 30 until 7:00 p.m. December 31: children with the custodial parent

Day 12, 7:00 p.m., December 31 until 7:00 p.m. January 1: children with the custodial parent, and then the Christmas break ends.

Because the intention of the law is to divide the Christmas Break period equally (“so long as the entire Christmas holiday period is equally divided”), then look at it this way:

From the evening of the day the child is released from school until the evening before the child returns to school, returning the child to the custodial parent at 7:00 p.m. on December 26th is the mid-point between the evening of December 20th and evening of January 1st.

 

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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