The holidays offer an opportunity for families to spend time together. But when parents are divorced, it can be complex to decide on a holiday visitation schedule that offers each parent equal time with their child.
Usually, as part of the divorce, the court will approve a parenting time schedule to support the child’s relationship with each parent through regular visits. If the parents can reach an agreement about holiday schedules through negotiation or mediation, this can allow them to have more control over the schedule.
Courts make all their decisions about child custody by considering the best interest of the child. Parents must do so as well when they are making a decision about parenting time. Factors to consider include the child’s age, relationship with each parent and any special religious, cultural or family holiday celebrations the child would like to take part in.
Compromise and flexibility
If parents are having a hard time deciding on a holiday schedule, the court may have a standard schedule they can use as a starting point. The process will generally be easier and more productive when the parents are flexible and willing to work together. For example, this may include trading holidays each year or splitting holiday time with each parent in half.
It’s essential to have open and respectful communication to reduce conflict, as well as to follow any court orders regarding holiday visitation. If either parent does not comply with the court order, it can have negative consequences for custody going forward.