South Dakota Parenting Guidelines: Winter Holiday Guide

Holidays are a time for family, but if you and your ex share custody of your children, that may be easier said than done. Even if you typically get along with that person, sharing holiday time can lead to stressful situations for everyone.  

In South Dakota, if you cannot reach an agreement with the other parent or your court order provides for "Guidelines Visitation" here are the minimum parenting time guidelines.

For children 1 year – preschool age within 250 miles and Holiday Celebration is in same or near-by community - each parent gets one half of the Winter Break generally. Break begins the evening the children are released from school and ends the evening of the day before the children return to school.

Parents are highly encouraged to construct a plan that allows the child to be with both parents over the holidays. If parents cannot come to an agreement, the non-custodial parent gets the first half on even-numbered years and the custodial parent gets the first half of Christmas break on odd-numbered years. The parent who does not have the half of the break in which Christmas (or arguably other important family tradition/holiday) falls, gets the child from 11am-8pm that day.

Absent an agreement, this year the non-custodial parent would get the first half of Winter Break and the custodial parent would get the child from 11am-8pm on Christmas Day and the second half of Winter Break.

The plan is devised so parents alternate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day each year and the child spends equal time with each parent during the holiday period. Other major holidays should be similarly divided between the parents.

Where there is a conflict between regular visitation and holiday visitation, holiday visitation always prevails. Time is not usually made up unless agreed otherwise.

Where the distance is over 250 miles and distance/finances permit - the noncustodial parent is to have the child during Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, and spring break on an alternating basis. The guidelines say that the child can miss some school for noncustodial visitation so long as it does not substantially interfere.

With the exception of infants and older teenagers with special needs/involvements, siblings should be on the same visitation plan.

For infants 0-12 months, the guidelines break up recommendations from 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12 months of age - generally, the infant will be with the primary caretaker and the most liberal of the suggested plans must only be used by adaptable children and cooperative parents.

For a full version of the South Dakota Parenting Guidelines, Click Here.

Have a happy holidays!

Brooke Swier Schloss
Connect with me
Family Law and Estate Planning attorney helping families across South Dakota plan and protect their loved ones