The holiday season is full of hectic schedules, festive parties and family gatherings and it seems like every year it comes up quicker and quicker. Deciding how to split custody between two parents is difficult to begin with but trying to figure out holiday custody is even more challenging and often a point of contention. Families want to spend time together during the holidays and make lasting memories with their kids, but a divorce or separation often means that both parents will have to sacrifice certain holidays. The most obvious answer to deciding on holiday custody is to divide up the celebration, but it’s often hard to imagine a way to split up the holidays in a way that would be fair to everyone involved. In addition to pleasing the parents, there are other family members like grandparents, aunts and uncles who want to celebrate holiday traditions with young children.
Setting up a visitation and holiday schedule is a very important part of your parenting and custody agreement. If your children are old enough it would be a good idea to get them involved in the discussion so they can contribute and understand that the holidays will be a special time with people who love them no matter what. Children have a lot of good memories and expectations when it comes to holiday celebrations so when parents separate it can create anxiety that this time of year will no longer be fun and memorable. Here are a couple of popular options for splitting holiday custody to take into consideration.
- One of the most common ways to split the time during the holiday season is to come to an agreement with the other parent on alternating holidays in some way. For example, one parent may get the children for Easter and Thanksgiving on even years, while the other parents gets Christmas and New Year’s, then on odd years they switch. This solution allows both parents to spend major holidays with their kids every year and they will never go more than a year without their child for any big holiday.
- Another option that works well is when parents prioritize certain celebrations over others and that way can have assigned fixed holidays. For example, if one parent is Jewish and the other is Christian it is easy to assign big holidays like Rosh Hashana and Hanukkah permanently to the Jewish parent and Easter and Christmas to the Christian parent.
- For parents who live in the same area, or near one another, it may be a good idea to simply split up the time so that the kids can spend some time with both parents on every holiday. One parent can spend the first half of the day making memories with their kids while the other parent will get the second half. Another way to split holiday custody is by having one parent get Christmas Eve while the other gets Christmas Day, or one parent will get Thanksgiving and the other parent will celebrate with the kids the following Friday or for the entire weekend after Thanksgiving.
- While children’s birthdays are not technically considered a holiday, they are very important and generally both parents will want to spend time with their child. Ideally, parents who have gone through an easy divorce will agree to share the day in one way or another. However, if parents live far away from one another or simply don’t want to be in the same room, then the child will end up enjoying multiple birthday celebrations. Another alternate solution is to trade off every year where one parent gets the kids for even years and other parent gets the kids on odd years.
When it comes to holiday custody, there is no perfect solution that will leave everyone feeling completely satisfied. Split holidays are the reality of divorce and both parents need to make sacrifices and compromises to ensure that the child gets quality time with each of them on these important celebrations. One thing to keep in mind is that a holiday custody schedule should be made according to what is best for the child. Because of this you may find that the best solution is a combination of the options mentioned above – some holidays can be shared while others can be alternated. For more information about holiday custody and child custody arrangements in the event of a divorce contact our team at Gale, Angelo, Johnson & Pruett P.C. You can also fill out the contact form below and a member of our team will be in touch to answer your inquiry.