The holidays are often a busy time of year that requires significant planning for family festivities. When divorced, negotiating timesharing and visitation schedules can increase stress. Identifying your family’s specific needs and starting the organization process early allows you to coordinate schedules in a way that allows your children to celebrate and spend time with all of their loved ones during the holidays.
Keeping your children’ best interests at heart should impact how you and the other parent negotiate child custody and co-parenting, whether it is a first-time process or a re-evaluation of previous court orders. When negotiating for holiday custody arrangements, make sure to include every holiday you and your ex-spouse plan to celebrate with your children.
Our attorneys at K. Dean Kantaras, P.A can help negotiate your holiday parenting and visitation schedule. Call us at (727) 939-6113 for more information!
Types of Holidays Schedules
Holidays are generally split after a divorce, and scheduling parenting time and visitation may depend on the children’s ages. If the kids haven’t started school yet, the parents can either reach an agreement as to how they’d like to split time or, if the parents cannot agree, the judge will make a ruling based on the children’s best interests.
For school-aged children, you may want to consider making your holiday timesharing schedule around their holiday breaks.
The three common ways to organize holiday visitation schedules are:
- Alternating holidays: on odd-numbered years, children spend a specific holiday with one parent, and with the other one on even-numbered years.
- Split the day between both parents: children will spend one half of the actual holiday date (like Thanksgiving or Christmas day) with one parent and the second half with the other parent.
- Schedule the holiday twice: parents can choose to observe holidays on either the actual date or an alternative one. This can be especially practical for children’s birthdays.
Factors to Consider When Planning
Defining which holidays you and your former spouse will include in your agreement is the first step. Knowing whether both of you celebrate each holiday also helps to build a comprehensive holiday schedule. Staying open-minded is a good way to find cooperative solutions, especially if one or both of you has a specific attachment to a holiday. Through all of this, you’ll also want to consider what is important to your child. Knowing what family traditions, old or new, co-parents want to uphold and which gatherings to attend plays a role in how you plan for holiday arrangements.
Another element you’ll want to address when planning for the holidays is travel. Traveling time impacts how children get to spend time with each parent, and possibly other relatives. The cost of travel, as well as how advisable it is to travel at that time of the year are other factors to consider when building your visitation schedule.
Tips for Parents
Planning for the holidays can be stressful when accommodating multiple households. If your former partner brings up a special request, you may take the opportunity to discuss a personal request of your own.
You should do your best to identify early what is important to you, your children, and the rest of your family. The more information you have, the more comprehensive your negotiation will be. In case of disagreement with your ex-spouse, keeping your children out of the conflict is usually best whenever possible.
Communicate with Your Children
Your children will likely get excited about the upcoming festivities and want to know how they will spend the holidays. Calmly addressing any concerns they may have is important, as is helping them prepare for any travel that will take place during the holidays.
Talking to your children about the schedule early will keep them in the loop and help them navigate visitations and travel that may differ from one year to the next, especially if you and your former spouse decide to alternate holidays.
You may also want to discuss holiday visitation schedules with the extended family members your children will be visiting. This is beneficial for everyone as it keeps things clear. Offering polite reminders and confirming holiday arrangements can help keep everyone organized and help to focus on the celebrations.
If you need legal guidance is establishing or modifying a parenting plan, call our team at K. Dean Kantaras, P.A today at (727) 939-6113!