Christmas is upon us again. And when it’s Christmas, it’s time to talk about Christmas vacation and parent-time. Hopefully, you started planning Christmas parent-time long ago. If you haven’t, however, this will answer the most common questions regarding when vacation begins and ends.

Christmas visitation in Utah is handled in one of two ways. The first way is by specific designation in your Divorce Decree or Order of Paternity. Your Decree might reference the Utah holiday statute (Utah Code, Section 30-3-35). If it does, we’ll talk more about what that means in a minute. Your Decree might also designate Christmas parent-time different from the statute. For example, John may have agreed to let Jane always have Christmas Day because John and his family celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. That’s just one example, but if you have something similar in your Decree, then follow that.

The second way is your Decree references the holiday statute. Here is the Section 30-3-35 Christmas schedule:

(f)In years ending in an odd number, the noncustodial parent is entitled to the following holidays:

. . . .

(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.

. . . .

(g)In years ending in an even number, the noncustodial parent is entitled to the following holidays:

. . . .

(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.

To figure out when Christmas school vacation begins and ends, you have to know the school calendar for your child. If your child isn’t in school yet, then follow the calendar of the school he or she would attend where you live if your child went to school. (You can find these calendars online by Googling your local school.)

Couple things to remember about the Christmas holiday. First, the person who has the first half of Christmas will always get Christmas Day. Always. Second, the second half of Christmas break will usually begin on December 26, sometimes December 27. You have to do the math to figure that out.

Hope that helps. Have a merry Christmas and God bless.

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