Holiday visitation schedules are often a source of unfortunate disputes between separated and divorced parents. Families that once enjoyed holiday activities and traditions may find it hard to divide visitation time between two households. However, a happy holiday after divorce is possible. The following are tips to prevent and resolve visitation conflicts for a peaceful holiday season for parents and children alike.
Tips on Visitation Schedules During the Holidays
Parents can approach their parenting time during the holidays in a variety of ways:
- Alternating holidays every other year. For this holiday visitation arrangement, the holidays for the calendar year are divided between parents and reversed the following year. So, a mother may have the children for Christmas one year, while the father can have them next year.
- Dividing each holiday in half. This plan is good for parents who live relatively close to each other and are willing to transport the children to their ex-spouse’s home on the holiday. This gives children the benefit of seeing both sides of the family on the same day.
- Doing the holidays twice. Each parent can have their own holiday time with the child - such as one parent celebrating Christmas a week earlier, while the other can have Christmas on the 25th.
- Assigning holidays. If certain holidays are more important to a parent, you can assign the same holidays every year.
- Separated or divorced parents spending the holiday together. Some couples remain friends after divorce and continue to spend holidays together as they have in the past. This can work provided both parents are on board. This gives children a sense of continuity and reminds them that families can remain civil after divorce.
- Electing to use a default schedule or deviate as they see fit. While every separated or divorced couple should have some form of a parenting visitation schedule, some parents choose to deviate from it occasionally for special circumstances. This only works for especially amicable and cooperative exes.
Each parenting plan is unique, so make sure that you discuss your arrangements with your family.
Choosing the Right Holiday Visitation Schedule for Your Family
For a visitation schedule that works for your family, consider the following factors:
- The children’s wishes
- How effectively you and your ex communicate
- The geographical distance between you and your ex
- If certain holidays hold special importance to you and your children
- Work and school schedules and how they may impact holiday visitation
The most effective way to reduce undue stress surrounding visitation schedules is to plan ahead. Divorced couples establish a visitation schedule either through mediation and a court-approved parenting agreement, or through a court order. Both set the terms for when the children spend time with each parent.
Holidays to Remember for Custody Arrangements
Below are some of the holidays that you may need to account for, as schools are often closed on these days:
- New Year's Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- President's Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Columbus Day
- Veteran's Day
- Thanksgiving / Black Friday
- New Year's Eve
Additional events to consider:
- Religious holidays
- School breaks (fall, spring, and summer break)
- Special occasions such as family birthdays
- Mother's and Father's Day
South Jersey Divorce Lawyers at the Burnham Law Group, LLC Help Clients Achieve Effective Visitation Solutions
It is never easy to be without your children during the holidays. Yet, South Jersey divorce lawyers work to resolve your child custody matters in a way that protects their best interests and meets the unique needs of your family. To learn more about our family law services, call us or contact us online to schedule a free case review today. With locations in Marlton and Somers Point, New Jersey, we work with clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County.