Parents can often carry feelings from their divorce forward after their separation and cause children to feel torn between each parent, especially during the holidays. For parents who are unprepared to deal with this discomfort, the holiday season can become a time of great challenges and conflict regarding child custody and parenting time. To minimize tensions and help you and your child’s other parent negotiate a mutually acceptable custody arrangement this holiday season, it is important you keep the following strategies in mind.
Common ways parents divide and share custody during the holidays include:
- Alternate holidays: Setting up an arrangement to have you and your ex-spouse alternate custody during the holidays every year can help to ensure neither you nor your ex-spouse miss spending a holiday with your child more than one year in a row. Likewise, scheduling a holiday twice can help ensure your child gets to spend time with each parent. For example, one parent can celebrate Christmas with the child on Dec. 20th and the other parent on the 25th, with the order being reversed the following year.
- Compromise: If a particular date or holiday is important to you or your spouse, such as a trip to see family during New Year’s, be willing to negotiate a fair trade to accommodate for their needs. The more flexible you are, the more likely your ex-spouse will be to extend the same courtesy to you.
- Split the holidays in half: If you and your spouse live close enough, consider having your child spend half the day with each parent. This arrangement is usually only possible with planning and coordination to prevent your child from spending the holidays traveling all day.
- Set fixed holidays: Another possible arrangement is to have each parent celebrate the same holidays with the child every year. This usually works if parents have different holidays that they think are important. For example, one parent may want to spend time with their children on Thanksgiving and New Year’s, while the may instead prioritize the Fourth of July and Christmas.
- Plan early: Regardless of the circumstances, it is important you get a head start on planning for the holiday season early to minimize your chances of encountering a dispute. This will help you identify conflicts in advance and commence negotiations without pressure.
For more holiday custody negotiation tips, contact the knowledgeable Fairfax family law attorneys at Malinowski Hubbard, PLLC today. Backed by decades of experience providing premier-quality legal advocacy for clients involved in all kinds of complex child custody and divorce cases, our team of skilled advocates have what it takes to ensure your rights are guarded.
Call (703) 935-4222 or contact our office online today to discuss your legal options in detail.