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Tips for navigating holiday parenting time

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Child Custody

The holiday season is here. With it come traditions and time spent with family. But you might be worried about what your time with your kids is going to look like if you share custody or visitation with your children’s other parent. After all, it can be heartbreaking to have to spend a major holiday without your kids.

Navigating the complexities of holiday scheduling

Ideally, you’d be able to create a holiday schedule that works for you, your children, and your children’s other parent. This schedule would be fair, allowing you and the other parent to spend appropriate, perhaps even equal, amounts of time with the children on given holidays. This may be achieved by splitting time during actual holidays or allowing one parent to spend more time with the children leading up to a holiday while allowing the other parent to spend the actual holiday with the children.

Tips for creating your holiday schedule

Even if it may seem simple to create a holiday schedule, it can actually prove quite difficult. The parents may be rigid in their positions, with each side afraid that they’ll miss out on traditions with their children, and it might seem impossible to make the children happy. But there are some things that you can do to hopefully make the scheduling process easier and more successful. Here are some of them:

  • Find an agreeable definition for each holiday: Conflict often arises during holiday scheduling because everyone has a different definition of what constitutes a given holiday or holiday season. So, have a thorough conversation with your children’s other parent to gauge their expectations for the holiday season. That way you’re in a better position to negotiate resolution that’s fair and favorable.
  • Be respectful and understanding: Your children’s other parent will be a part of their life forever. So, even if you think that the other parent’s holiday traditions aren’t important, they may be important to your children. With that in mind, try to be respectful of the other parent’s holiday time requests, even if you don’t agree with them or don’t acquiesce to them.
  • Find out what your children want: Navigating the holidays can be hard for your children. At the end of the day, though, your holiday scheduling should be about what’s in your children’s best interests, not what’s best for you or the other parent. Therefore, before talking to the other spouse about what the holiday schedule should look like, it’s a good idea to touch base with your children to better determine what they hope to get out of holiday time with their parents.
  • Commemorate your agreement in writing: There’s too much room for miscommunication and misunderstanding when relying on someone’s spoken word, especially when it involves spending time with your children. So, once you and your children’s other parent come to an agreement on a holiday visitation schedule, make sure it’s written down somewhere.

Do you continue to face visitation scheduling issues?

If so, then you may want to revisit your initial custody order, as it likely specifies the rules for holiday scheduling. If you feel like you need to stray from that order and can’t get the other parent’s consent to do so, though, then you may have to take the matter to court to seek a modification. In those situations, you’ll need to ensure that you have sound evidence to support your position and arguments that you can clearly articulate. If you’d like assistance in addressing those matters, then you might want to reach out to a skilled legal professional who is adept in this area of the law.