Easter – how do we split time with the children now that we've split up?

It is common for families to struggle to agree on how significant holidays such as Easter or Christmas should be spent, whether it be for specific family traditions or who’s side of the family they should spend the holiday with. If you’re recently separated, this can make any holiday season even more challenging. Struggles like this occur even in families that are not separated!

Below are some examples of different arrangements for the upcoming Easter holidays that you may wish to consider if you’re finding it hard to make preparations.

Children with one parent from Good Friday until Easter Saturday, and with the other parent from Easter Saturday to Easter Sunday.

This arrangement works best if both parents live close to each other. This will allow the children to spend time with both parents over the Easter holiday. It is common for time over Easter to be split this way so that the children may spend time with their extended maternal/paternal family in the first half and the other in the second half. This arrangement can then alternate in the following year so the children have the benefit of both sides of their family on special days. This allows the children to continue any traditions they may have with both sides of their extended family.

Children with one parent over the day of significance for the family such as Good Friday or Easter Sunday, but spending a few hours during that significant day with the other parent

This might work if both parents have the same day of significance to them during the Easter period or if the children typically live with a primary carer and spend time with the other parent. This will allow the children to spend time with both parents on the one day. Experts also commonly recommend that children of a young age should not spend long periods of time away from their primary carer. By spending a few hours on the special day with the non-primary carer, this still allows both parents to spend time with the children while continuing to act in the best interests of the children.  

Children spending the whole of the Easter holidays with one parent

This arrangement might occur where the parents live a significant distance apart or if Easter is not an important holiday for one parent. If you and the other parent do not live in the same location, you might wish to consider that the parent not spending time with the children get some additional time at some other period during the year such as extended time during the normal school holidays. The parent not spending time with the children might also be able to communicate with the children via video or telephone and send the children an Easter present. With technology, there are so many options! Another instance might be if the parents might have different religious beliefs and one parent might celebrate Easter and the other Orthodox Easter. As these generally fall on different dates, the children could spend time with the parent who celebrates the specific holiday. 

Children spending the whole of the Easter holidays with one parent in alternate years

A common way for care arrangements over special holidays to be divided is to alternate years. This could suit parents who live a significant distance from each other. The children will spend time with one parent for the entire Easter holiday period in one year and then with the other parent in the Easter holiday period in the next year, in an alternating fashion.

Spending time together as a blended family

If you and the other parent have an amicable relationship, and Easter is an important holiday for the both of you, you might wish to consider spending Easter together. This might suit families who continue to have an amicable relationship after separation and have been able to maintain a friendship post-separation. Given how early Easter is this year, the weather should still be relatively nice for a neutral event together such as picnic or Easter egg hunting activity for the children. Some close friends of mine who have separated spend special holidays together as they are still good friends.

No special arrangement for Easter

For some families, there is a preference to just stick to existing holiday arrangements (which might be half holidays with each parent, alternating weeks, or something else). This suits families who are not particularly concerned with Easter as a tradition (or are happy to celebrate it on another day), families who have non-Christian beliefs/religion and parents who do not want to have multiple handovers during the holidays. This may also suit families with young children who do not wish to change handover times so that there is continuity and a schedule for the children.

What should I do?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to important holidays and time you get to spend with your children. You have to pick an arrangement that works best for your children and the parties involved.

To avoid disappointment and future conflict with the other parent, make sure that you plan for such holidays in advance! Communication is key to ensure that you and the other parent are on the same page. There can be nothing worse than to assume that you are spending a day of significance with your children only to find out that the other parent has assumed the same thing.

If you want further advice (and to plan ahead) for Christmas, you can find a similar article on Christmas holidays care arrangements on our website.

If you wish to discuss care arrangements for your child over Easter with a lawyer, one of our friendly lawyers will be happy to help.







Jalene Teo, Family Lawyer FGD

Article By: Jalene Teo

Family Lawyer

Jalene has practiced exclusively in the family and criminal law jurisdiction since admission and joined FGD to specialise in family law. Jalene is empathetic and enjoys interacting with clients to help them get through a difficult time in their lives. She understands how frustrating the legal system may be and strives to make the process as easy and accessible for clients as possible.

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