Child Visitation During the Holidays

Splitting time between households can be tough for families of divorce, especially during the holidays. Parents and children alike are eager to continue beloved and time-honored traditions that are considered synonymous with Christmas and other winter holidays. This time of year comes with many family and cultural traditions that no one wants to give up. However, for parents that have a custody-sharing agreement, whether or not there is a clear and agreed-upon plan can make or break the atmosphere of peace and goodwill.

As with many co-parenting issues, cooperation is key. In order to create a concrete schedule that provides a workable solution to holiday-related child custody sharing, it is vital to approach the issue with an expectation of compromise and a mind toward fairness. Beyond that, the issues presented below may help give parents a framework to approach to holiday child-sharing matters.

What Should be Included in Discussions About a Holiday Custody Schedule?

Keep children at the center focus: The most important factor in the planning is that the negotiations be centered on the child or children. Since schedule negotiations involve many adult and logistical considerations, the issues are likely too complex for the child to exercise much control. Yet, their preferences should hold sway. Parents should discuss with their children what parts of the holidays are special to them and make an effort to honor those attachments and sentiments.

Work around the child’s obligations: Holidays are special occasions that are a welcome break from the norm, however, the proposals to accommodate holiday plans should still seek to minimize interruptions to the structure and commitments that make up the child’s life, such as schedules for school and extracurricular activities.

Parents’ work and travel schedules: Job responsibilities, such as an annual work trip or an ill-timed project deadline, should factor into whether or not a parent can feasibly create an appropriate holiday atmosphere for their children. The breakdown for which parent gets the children and for which holidays should be included in a parenting plan.

Religious customs and cultural habits: A sundown celebration cannot take place in the early afternoon and a congregation’s midnight mass will not be rescheduled for another time. It is wise to be realistic about these time constraints.

Time costs of travel: The time and logistics of travel should be considered. It may not be feasible or enjoyable for the child to be shuffled around to accommodate a rigid schedule. Sticking too tightly to equal time can have unintended consequences that make for a miserable experience where the child feels like a pinball being bounced back and forth. It is better if the child has a chance to settle in and enjoy the festivities at hand.

Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Help Clients with Parenting Plans!

If you are planning to divorce, you may have many decisions to consider. The lawyers at Burnham Douglass can help you focus on the most essential concerns as you institute a new arrangement for your family. For more information, contact us online or call 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. Located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Mercer County, Gloucester County, and Atlantic County.

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