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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Shared Holiday Time After Divorce

Divorced families with children may face some hardships during the holiday season because of parental custody and shared holiday time. At Canterbury Law Group, our Scottsdale divorce attorneys help navigate the difficult custody process with the ultimate goal to make the situation as clean as possible for everyone involved, especially the kids.

Here are some common ways that parents divide and share holiday time:

  • Alternate holidays every other year. You can assign holidays to each parent for even years and then swap the holidays in odd years. With this arrangement, you won’t miss spending a holiday with your child more than one year in a row.
  • Split the holiday in half. You can split the day of the holiday so that your child spends part of the day with each parent. This arrangement requires planning and coordination because you don’t want your child to spend holidays traveling all day.
  • Schedule a holiday twice. You can schedule time for each parent to celebrate a holiday with your child. For example, one parent can celebrate Christmas with the child on Dec. 23th and the other parent on the 25th.
  • Assign fixed holidays. You can have each parent celebrate the same holidays with the child every year. If parents have different holidays that they think are important, each parent can have those holidays every year.

Some holidays have special considerations because both parents usually want to spend time with the child on or near the holiday. We have the following recommendations for such situations.

  • Your child’s birthday: You can schedule a short visit for the parent who doesn’t have the child on the birthday, give both parents birthday time in the schedule, or the parents can alternate having the birthday.
  • 3 day weekend holidays: These holidays include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day. Parents can alternate the 3 day weekends, split the weekends, or give the Monday holiday to the parent who already has the weekend.
  • Mother’s Day and Father’s Day: Usually your child spends every Mother’s Day with the mother and every Father’s Day with the father.
  • Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend: One parent can have Thanksgiving Day and the other parent can have the weekend, you can give both parents time on Thanksgiving and on the weekend, or parents can alternate having Thanksgiving and the weekend.
  • The Christmas holiday season: One parent can have Christmas Eve and the other parent can have Christmas Day, one parent can have Christmas and the other parent can have winter break, you can make New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day into one holiday and the parents alternate having it.
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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Obtaining Your Legal Time Off

At Canterbury Law Group, we receive many seasonal calls regarding employees and time off. Under federal law, an employer typically cannot make work-related decisions based upon an employee’s religion. Therefore, an employer has to give its workers some time off from work to exercise their religion and celebrate holidays. Employers may face crucial legal problems for refusing time off.

Example – There are many religious-based holidays that may interrupt the usual work schedule. Popular holidays are Christmas and Chanukah, and many employees find it easy to enjoy these days. However, sometimes, an employer doesn’t agree with a certain religion or holiday, which becomes a problem.

Recently, a former sales manager of a Bath and Body Works store in Connecticut filed a discrimination lawsuit under Title VII. She claims she was terminated because she took vacation time to celebrate the Wiccan New Year. According to lawsuit, her previous management at the company allowed her to use her vacation time for this holiday for the last six years, but new management opposed. The employee claims she was directed that she would need a new career if she took the time off. When she returned, she was immediately terminated. The employee is suing for back pay and other money damages.

The Law – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) is the major federal discrimination law. This means that it is illegal for employers to treat workers differently because of certain characteristics, such as sex and race. It also bars discrimination based upon religion. Therefore, employers can’t make it harder for employees of a certain religion to get hired and / or promoted or give them better or worse working hours than workers of other religions. They also can’t terminate workers based upon their religious beliefs.

Violating Title VII may bring large fines and other costs associated with the case. An employee who is improperly refused time off or fired because of his religion may be able to get his job back and get paid for the time he was out of work.

Use Caution – Employers need to be careful when it comes to refusing time off for religious-based holidays. Vacation time can’t be refused simply because the employer doesn’t believe in the holiday or religion. However, legitimate business reasons are another story. For a retailer, the holidays may be the busiest time of the year, and so a full workforce may be required. A holiday may also happen to fall at a time when a large project needs to be completed. In these situations, it is possible to limit an employee’s time off.

If you are an employee or employer and have questions about legal time off, call us today to schedule your consultation at 480-240-0040

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