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Dealing With Child Custody and Visitation Around the Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching. It won’t be long before the kids are on Thanksgiving break and then the Christmas holiday. The holidays can be fun for kids, but it can be confusing when it’s their first time celebrating them after a divorce. What will they do for the holidays? Who will they spend them with? Ideally, the parents will have a child custody agreement in place. If not, then the parents need to work together to create a schedule that is in the best interests of the children.

The holidays are often the only time that children see certain family members, so you and the other parent will need to carefully plan the holiday schedules for your kids. By having a solid plan in place, you can avoid disagreements on Christmas Day and give your children the security they desire. They want to know now what they will be doing for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so start planning as soon as possible.

What to Consider

Besides the obvious holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, there are also religious holidays to consider, such as Hanukkah, Diwali, Passover, Ramadan, and Yom Kippur. There are other holidays to consider throughout the year as well, such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and more. Plus, don’t forget the child’s birthday, school holiday, summer vacation, and spring break. 

Dividing and Sharing Child Custody

There are many ways in which you and the other parent can fairly split up holidays so you both can have equal time with the kids. Here are some possibilities:

  • Alternate holidays every year. One parent can have the children for Thanksgiving on odd years, then Christmas on even years, or vice versa. 
  • Schedule the holiday twice. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to happen on the fourth Thursday of November and Christmas doesn’t have to be on December 25. You can schedule them on different days so each parent can celebrate with the kids. Your kids may actually prefer this, as they’ll get to celebrate the holidays twice. 
  • Split the holiday in half. One parent can have the child for the mornings until noon, and then the other parent gets the child the rest of the day. However, this requires a lot of coordination and may be tiring for the child if they are traveling a lot of the time.
  • Assign fixed holidays. If you prefer Christmas, but the other parent loves Thanksgiving, then assign fixed holidays. That way, the parent gets the kids at the same time every year.

Sharing the Holidays

Some divorced families spend the holidays together. If you and the other parent are on good terms, then this may be a good approach for your family. Sharing the holidays together has many benefits. However, everyone has to be amicable toward each other. If there is anger, bitterness, and tension remaining from the divorce, then spending the holidays together will only do more harm than good. You want the holidays to be an enjoyable experience, not one that everyone is going to dread.

Sharing the holidays offers these benefits:

  • There’s no need to spend time trying to split the custody time evenly.
  • There are no disputes among the parents. 
  • The parents and children get to see each other on the actual holiday. 
  • The children get to continue their regular holiday traditions and routine.
  • The children will likely be overjoyed to have their parents together again.
  • You can continue to make family memories.

This approach works best for younger children. As children get older, they may not care so much about being around their parents. Plus, if either parent remarries, things could get awkward, so sharing the holidays is good only in certain situations. 

Other Things to Consider

The holidays aren’t just about sharing custody. You should also consider the following:

  • Coordinate gifts. Be sure to coordinate Christmas presents with the other parent so that the gift-giving can be equal. Don’t try to compete with each other. 
  • Set expectations. Make sure everyone knows the holiday plans so they know what to expect ahead of time. If possible, make sure everyone is comfortable and happy. 
  • Spend time with family and friends. If there are days that you can’t be with your children, don’t isolate yourself. The holidays are about togetherness, so spend time with family and friends. 

Contact Us Today

Dealing with child custody arrangements can be complicated for divorced parents. This is especially true around the holidays when both parents want access to their kids.  The high asset divorce attorneys at Lawrence Law Office can help you address your concerns. We can help you and the other party resolve your differences. Call (614) 363-0752 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.

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