Holidays are a special and treasured time of year for both children and their parents. However, for divorced or separated families, the holidays can also create a great deal of stress and tension. While you want your children to have quality time with both you and your co-parent, that usually means spending at least some holidays away from your child.
As the winter holiday season approaches, planning a holiday visitation schedule can reduce familial conflicts and ensure your child has the opportunity to create valuable memories with each parent. Here are some of the most common ways parents choose to share their holiday time:
Alternating important holidays
In cases where both you and the other parent want to celebrate a major holiday with your children, you might decide to alternate custody every other year. You might choose to alternate all significant holidays or just a few specific ones that are important to both you and your ex.
Celebrating on separate days
Sometimes, co-parents will choose to share holiday time by celebrating the same holiday on separate days. This custody method tends to work well with holidays like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after. It can be an ideal arrangement for parents who prefer to spend the full day with the kids.
Splitting up the day of the holiday
If transportation isn’t an issue, sometimes it makes sense to split the holiday’s actual day with your co-parent. In most cases, your child will spend the first half of the day with one parent and the second half with the other. This arrangement can be a useful compromise when both parents must celebrate on the actual holiday.
Assigning fixed holidays
Sometimes, co-parents will have different holidays that they value or believe are important. For example, if your family has a big Fourth of July celebration each year, but your co-parent rarely has plans to celebrate, you may decide that your child will celebrate with you on that holiday every year.
Parents don’t have to choose just one way to divide their holiday time. You and your ex can combine any of these visitation arrangements to find a solution that works for you and your family’s needs. With the right visitation schedule, you can take the stress out of sharing the holidays.