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Regular Access v/s Holiday Access

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Glen Cook
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Deciding on parenting time with the children may be one of the most charged, difficult and emotional decisions you may have to make during separation. Things can get especially complicated when trying to come up with a reasonable, practical and beneficial schedule in place for the children and their respective parents.

Types of Parenting Schedules

There are many varieties when it comes to a parenting schedule at separation. Some parents may prefer to share equal time with the children; for others, it may not be practical to do so if they reside far from the other parent, if they have a hectic and unpredictable work schedule, or if they do not have easy access to transportation.

The primary consideration at all times should be on what is in the best interests of the child or children of the marriage / relationship. A higher number of transitions may be advisable for younger children, so as not to keep them away from any one parent for too long; older children may be better placed to limit transitions between parents’ respective homes if they can make their preferences known.

  • Consistent rules, habits and values should apply in each parent’s household to avoid confusion;
  • Each parent should be meaningfully involved in their children’s lives on a consistent basis in order to establish a meaningful rapport and bond with the children;
  • Time spent by the parents with the child should be a combination of planned and unplanned activities, or study time and play time;
  • Children’s ages and the parent-child relationship may also affect travel time or vacation time with each child;
  • Parents’ respective support systems (i.e. access to immediate family and close relatives or friends) can also affect a shared parenting schedule.

Primarily Residing with One Parent

Sometimes, the children of the marriage or the relationship reside primarily with one parent (i.e. more than 60% of their time is spent under the care of the primary parent).

When such is the case, the other parent may parent the child on a week day and on alternate weekends. This type of arrangement ensures that the best interests of the children are prioritized, such that there is not too much of a gap in between each parent’s parenting time with the child.

The understanding is for both parents to be able to spend meaningful and quality time with the child or children of the marriage /relationship, however this may be structured or unstructured. Some parents prefer specific times for pick-ups and drop-offs; others, prefer only set week days or week nights.

Holiday Schedule

A holiday schedule often refers to parenting time with the children during statutory or religious holidays, summer and winter breaks, birthdays or other special occasions in the household.

It is often times in the best interests of the children to share holidays with each parent equally, and on an alternating basis. That way, a child can spend the Civic Holiday long weekend with mom one year, and with dad the next. A holiday schedule often prevails or trumps the regular schedule. It is often known as the “special schedule”.

Parents often finalize a schedule depending upon the specific needs of their children and their individual circumstances – i.e. time off work.

How We Can Help

At Nanda & Associate Lawyers, our excellent lawyers can help you come up with creative schedules in place for the benefit of your children. Our family law lawyers understand your specific circumstances and provide tailored and customized solutions to meet your legal needs.

Our Mississauga Lawyers are available for a no-obligation free consultation. Come and experience our quality legal counsel and personalized care we give to each of our clients.


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