Absent a showing that visitation with the other parent would be detrimental to the children, both parents are entitled to share in holiday time with the children. In Oklahoma, most Judges believe that children do best when both parents have stable and meaningful involvement in their children’s lives and that both parents have contributions to make to children’s development. Separated or divorced parents can choose to agree on the division of holidays, or the parents can let a Judge decide.
If a Judge decides holiday visitation, a standard holiday visitation schedule will be imposed on the parties. The standard holiday schedule varies by county. In Tulsa county, the standard holiday schedule includes the following holidays: spring break, fall break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The standard holiday schedule is fixed, meaning the parents do not alternate holidays every year, providing each parent the opportunity to have the child for Thanksgiving or Christmas in a two-year period. The schedule does not include other holidays that often result in a three-day weekend for school children, such as Martin Luther King Day. Other holidays that can be important to families are also absent from the standard holiday schedule. These include: Easter, Halloween, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, and New Year’s Day. For these holidays not included in the standard holiday schedule, the parent’s regular visitation schedule governs.
If parents can agree on how to share the holidays with their children, the schedule can accommodate holidays that may be important to one parent (but not the other), allow for out of town travel for the children to see other family members, and allow the parents to alternate or split holidays that are important to both parents. Agreement by the parents also allows for flexibility for holiday events and to adapt to the wishes of the children.
In all cases, the holiday schedule will supersede the parent’s regular visitation schedule. Once the holiday is completed, the parents resume the regular visitation schedule as if the holiday visitation had not occurred.