Be Creative with Visitation During the Holiday Season

Even in the most amicable divorces, there will inevitably be disputes over property, finances, and child custody. In primary custody arrangements, visitation schedules can sometimes make the holiday season a tricky one – both parents obviously want to share these important times with their child, but they also want to establish or continue holiday traditions to fulfill their child’s life. Depending on many factors – both parents’ religious beliefs, the distance between parents’ homes, and ages of children just to name a few – there may be some creative ways to share custody fairly during the holiday season.

Every Other Year Approach

When a child’s parents live far apart, which makes sharing a single day geographically difficult, they may opt to take the “every other year” approach to sharing holidays. An example of this would be the child spending Thanksgiving with the mother and Christmas with the father one year and then spending Thanksgiving with the father and Christmas with the mother the next year. While this does mean one parent will miss the child on either holiday, it does give both parents a fair sharing of time over the years.

Sharing Each Holiday

If the parents live closer together, it may be possible for them to share custody on each holiday. Depending on the circumstances and traditions of each family, it may make sense for the mother or father to have custody in the morning until noon, and then custody switches to the other parent. This may have the child spending Christmas morning with the mother and then having Christmas dinner with the father. This approach allows the child to see both sides of his or her family in one day.

Different Religious Beliefs

When each parent has different religious beliefs that include holidays that do not conflict on the calendar, sharing custody during these times may be easier. For example, if the child’s father is Jewish and the child’s mother is Christian, it is possible for Hanukkah and Christmas to not even fall close to each other on the calendar. When this is the case, it is easily possible for the child to spend one holiday with one parent and the other holiday with the other parent without having any time issues between them.

While the holiday season can be stressful for all, it can be especially hard for parents who are sharing custody of their child. During this time, it is important to remember one thing – the child is the most important person during the holiday season, and coming to an amicable agreement is always best.

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