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Parenting time during the holidays

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2019 | Child Custody and Parenting Time

The state of Michigan takes parenting time very seriously, knowing that quality time with each parent can be important for your child’s growth and development. Yet during the holidays, your normal parenting schedule may not work with your kid’s school breaks, holiday travel plans or other special considerations. How do you navigate this joyous time of year without adding stress for yourself or your children?

One of the biggest concerns for many parents is travel. Here are some tips for ensuring that your parenting time agreement stays on track.

Holiday time

The state of Michigan includes different guidelines for children of different ages. For children age four or younger, family court recommends short visits that alternate parents every four to five days.

For school-aged children (5-12), visits are often longer. Most children will spend the entire school holiday break with one parent, especially if traveling farther than 180 miles.

In either case, focus on the time that you do have with your children through the holidays. Even if they are with the other parent for a particular day, you still have wonderful opportunities to create special holiday memories. You know your family and your children best, so be sure to consider your unique holiday traditions when creating your parenting time agreement during mediation.

Air Travel

Any children under the age of 15 flying without an adult present must travel as an unaccompanied minor. When planning your flights, keep in mind that unaccompanied minors may only travel on direct flights.

Almost every airline carrier will grant a “gate pass” so that you may help your child pass through security and arrive at the correct boarding gate. Typically, you need to pass through the same security guidelines as other travelers.


In most cases, parents in Michigan are separately responsible for travel costs. When one parent lives more than 180 miles form the original jurisdiction where the child custody arrangement began, that parent is responsible for paying any expenses necessary for the children to travel to their visit.