The holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness and togetherness, a time to enjoy getting together with family and friends. But, if you’re going through a divorce or parental custody battle or have joint custody with your ex-spouse, the holidays can be anything but enjoyable.
To help minimize the conflict and tension that very often arises when there are problems dealing with holiday custody issues, there are some strategies that you can use to negotiate custody agreements that are beneficial to all parties involved, especially your children.
Agree to alternate holidays every other year. For example, you spend the holidays with your children for the even years, and your ex gets them for the odd years. Another strategy is to split the holiday in half which means your child spends part of the day with each one of you. This option is doable if you and your ex live in close proximity to one another.
Schedule a holiday for more than one day. In other words, you can celebrate Christmas a few days before or after December 25th and your ex-spouse can spend it with your children on Christmas Day. You can choose to rotate this schedule every other year.
You can actually fill out Form FL-34(C), a legal document which lays out a schedule that both parents agree to follow during the major holidays, birthdays, vacations, and even on school breaks. If the court agrees, it will sign off on the document.
Give and Get
Sharing custody during the holiday’s centers involves a good deal of compromising by both parties. Because three major holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s – take place back to back in November, December, and January, special considerations need to be taken into account if both parents want to spend time with their child on or near these holidays.
One suggestion is that your child spends Thanksgiving Day with you and your ex can have the weekend. This schedule can be alternated every other year. The same arrangement can be made for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
But, the most important thing for both parents to keep in mind are your child’s feelings. When you and your ex-spouse are trying to figure out a holiday custody schedule, don’t let the process be colored by arguments and selfishness. You need to work together so that your children can enjoy spending time with both of you.
Flexibility and Understanding
A successful visitation schedule should be an understanding between all the parties involved that compromise is the most effective way to make sure that each of your gets to spend quality time with your child during the holidays and that flexible schedules may be necessary in the event that there are changes to your holiday custody plan.
However, if you’re having trouble agreeing on a holiday visitation schedule with your ex-spouse, you may need the services of an experienced family law attorney to help you negotiate this and other child custody modifications. At Buncher Family Law, a family attorney in Orange County, we’ll help develop solutions to your problems. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.