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Hello, my name is Andrew Feldstein of the Feldstein Family Law Group. Today, I will be discussing March Break Access with your children.

March Break, as most people know is the annual week-long break from school most children have in the middle of March.

This boon in free time can be both fun and stressful for children of separated families since March Break is often a point of contention between parents when they both want the children to spend that free time with them.

Approaches to Sharing March Break with the Other Parent

There are two common approaches most parents take to March Break Access schedules:

  1. Divide the time off school equally so that each parent spends equal time with the kids; or
  2. Alternate each year which parent has the children the entire time that the children are off school.

The best approach would be what is practical in the best interests of the children in your unique circumstances.

Divided March Break Week Schedule

When parents divide the week, a common schedule has the children spending the first part of the week with one parent and the rest of the week with the other.

In a typical split schedule, the first parent has the children beginning on the Friday afternoon of the last week of school before the Break. The children are then transferred sometime on the Wednesday of the break, and spend the rest of the break period with the other parent.

Alternating Year Schedule

If parents choose to alternate March Break on a year-by-year basis, the parent who has the children in any given year would have them for the entire break period.

For example, if the children are with the mother in Year 1, then the father gets them for Year 2, and mother would have them again Year 3 and so on.

Some parents prefer the alternating year schedule because it allows the parent with the children enough time to take them on vacation.

If you want to take your children abroad for a March Break holiday, you will need a signed and notarised Consent to Travel – a type of legal document that authorizes you to travel outside of Canada with the children – from the other parent. For more information about consents to travel and March Break access, please view our video blog on travel consent letters.

In my experience, the best time to discuss March Break access is early in the year and no later than the middle of January or early February. If you can do so earlier, that’s even better. This way parents have time to make travel plans and any other arrangements necessary to be able to enjoy the break with the children.

If you believe that March Break access will be a contentious issue, it should be addressed with the other parent in writing or through your lawyer as far in advance as possible in order to resolve the dispute either through negotiation or the courts if necessary.

For more information on this and other issues, please feel free to explore our website or contact us by phone at 905-581-7222. Thank you.