If you are newly separated and facing your first holiday season apart from your spouse, it is not too late to draft a workable holiday custody schedule between you and your soon-to-be ex.
Holiday custody differs from your regular agreement with the kids’ other parent in that you will need to find a workable solution to where the children will be and when over the upcoming holidays. However, it can be challenging for warring spouses to reach accord on these matters.
Different approaches work for different families
Where children are concerned, it typically makes little difference to them when they sit down for Thanksgiving dinner or open their holiday gifts as long as they get to do it. For many, the idea of double holiday celebrations, first with one parent and then with the other only adds to the fun.
That’s why it may be a good idea for the kids to spend time with one parent on the actual holiday and then do it all over again with their other parent the next day or following weekend.
Rotating holidays works well, too
Another approach to consider is having each parent pick a holiday and then trade off the following year. For instance, Dad could get the kids this Thanksgiving and Mom on Christmas, and then switch next year. Rotate throughout the entire calendar year in this way until everything is covered.
Pick and choose your favorites
Maybe Dad gets together with his extended family each Fourth of July for a reunion at the family cabin on the lake. Because he doesn’t want the kids to miss a gathering with their extended family, he wants to stake a claim for this holiday.
Mom might be willing to make this trade-off if she can have them every Easter or Passover to celebrate with her own parents and siblings. All it takes is a little negotiation to make it work.
If you don’t choose, the court decides
Even in acrimonious divorces, the spouses usually are in agreement that they prefer to be the ones in charge of such intimate family matters. That’s why it’s worth the time and effort to hash matters out now. Otherwise, the court will arbitrarily decide — and then your options are indeed limited.
Your family law attorney can offer you additional tips on getting the best visitation schedule that you can with your children.