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Can I modify the holiday schedule?

Salem, MA |

Original order dates back to 2010. Judge ordered us to split Christmas Day. However, my ex gets out children every Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I have to wait until noon to see them on Christmas. This has happened for the past 4 years. I want to change the schedule so that we alternate the Christmas parenting time. I think that would be more fair. Besides, I am the custodial parent and I think it would be in the kids' best interests to be with me.

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Attorney answers 5


You can apply for a modification of the order in the Probate & Family court that issued the original order. Of course, I don't recommend jumping into court before you try to work it out with your ex. This is a matter than can be worked out without court intervention, if the parties can communicate reasonably about the children's care. But if all else fails, you can go back into a court and let the judge decide for you.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney


I agree with Attorney Matta's advice. I would only add, you may want to consider mediation. If you and your ex are able to come to an agreement through mediation, then you can file a Joint Petition for Modification, and you (most likely) will not have to go to court, as Joint Petitions for Modification are handled administratively. Good luck!

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You can try. It may not be a good idea. At the very least it would be wise to talk about it with the other parent and get their opinion.

If you are the custodial parent and if you get to see the kids most of the time, it may not be reasonable to try and also get additional holiday time. Frankly, most of the time I find that these sorts of fights aren't helpful to the children. You might want to consider whether raising this is really in your kids' best interests.

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I agree that trying to work out a change with your ex should be attempted before soliciting the court for assistance. That being said, in order to be successful in a modification you need to show a material and substantial change in circumstance since the last judgment. What has changed since 2010?

I would also suggest against raising that you are the custodial parent so it is in the children's best interest. This argument may not only be unsuccessful but may also have a negative impact on your position.


This is an issue that would be best addressed by trying to work something out with your ex-husband and if an agreement is reached there is a process to have the agreement made an order of the Court. If you cannot reach an agreement then a complaint for modification can be filed, however, you need to be able to show a material change in circumstances as well as a change being in the best interest of the children. The issue may come down to what, if anything, has changed in the past 4 years.

DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided in response to a "hypothetical" question and provided for general, informational purposes and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The information presented is not legal advice and may change based additional information and research. It is recommended that you speak to an attorney to discuss your specific legal issues.

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