Navigating the holiday season while sharing custody can be a challenging time of year. Communication and flexibility between parents, is key in helping to avoid disputes and dampening your holiday spirit. Creating a holiday schedule, either informally between the parties or through the assistance of counsel, so that each parent’s boundaries and expectations for the holidays are clearly established can help minimize conflict.
Reaching an agreement on things such as where the child will spend each night during the holiday season, times for transfers, anticipated calls, or FaceTime communication, even the types of gifts to be exchanged, help to avoid disputes, and ensure an enjoyable time for all, especially the children, during the holidays.
While every family is different, here are a few options for crafting a holiday child custody schedule:
Spending the Holiday Together: Jointly sharing holiday time together allows the child or children to spend quality time with both parents simultaneously during the holidays. This could involve having one parent join the other during a certain portion of celebrating the day.
Splitting: Splitting a holiday so that the child or children would spend part of the same holiday with both parents at different times. This could be a viable solution for separated parents who live near one other but do not necessarily want to spend the holiday together.
Alternating: Alternating the holidays every year between the parents. This option could be beneficial for parents who live further away or would simply prefer to have individual holiday time with the child or children.
Following the Regular Visitation Schedule: Dividing holidays based on regular visitation is another option that could work for divorced or separated parents. In this case, whichever parent would otherwise have the child will have them for the holiday. This could be a workable solution if both parents have a set visitation schedule already in place and do not want to adjust it to expressly account for a certain holiday(s).
These are just some options to give parents the opportunity to create a holiday custody schedule that works best for them and their children while still allowing the children to spend quality time with both of their parents during the holidays. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these are just suggestions and not all of them may be suitable or practical for every situation. It’s important for parents to work together to come up with a unique solution that works best for them and their children. It’s important to remember that the needs of the children should always take precedence when creating a holiday custody schedule. Ultimately, crafting a Holiday Child Custody Schedule can help create an environment of peace and understanding for everyone in the family. Taking the time to carefully consider different options and the children’s needs can help create a more successful situation for all involved and ensure everyone the best possible holiday experience.
If you have questions, or need assistance, contact one of our highly experienced domestic relations attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman, P.C. at (703) 525-4000. We practice in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not contain or convey legal advice. Consult a lawyer. Any views or opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily the views of any client.