Every year, the holiday season seems to sneak up sooner. One minute you are in your shorts and flip-flops, and the next you are scrambling to buy that perfect holiday gift. For divorced parents, scheduling family visits in conjunction with their parenting schedules can add another level of frustration.
The key to holiday harmony is working together to develop a productive holiday schedule that accommodates every family member’s needs. Parents must communicate with each other and be willing to be flexible about holiday visits. For some families, working with an attorney to develop a holiday schedule as part of their child custody agreement is the best way to ensure that their children spend quality time with both parents and their extended families at future holidays.
Ways to Divide Holidays Between Divorced Parents
Every family has its own unique set of holiday traditions. In some families, the parents might belong to different religions and thus have different holiday obligations and observances. For other families, both parents belong to the same religion, which can create an issue when both want to spend a specific holiday with their child. The following are a few methods that parents can use to effectively create a holiday schedule for their families:
- Alternating Holidays. In this type of scenario, the parents switch off who gets the children for certain holidays each year. For example, Mom gets the children for Easter on odd-numbered years, and Dad gets them for Easter on even-numbered years. This scenario works well for parents who do not mind spending the holidays without their children some years. It is also ideal for parents who live far from their former spouses because traveling during the actual holiday is not necessary.
- Splitting Holidays. This type of setup is best suited for parents who live fairly close to each other. When parents split holidays, they agree to each spend a portion of the holiday with their child. For example, the child eats Thanksgiving dinner at Dad’s house, then dessert at Mom’s house.
- Setting Fixed Holidays. In this type of scenario, each parent earmarks specific holidays to spend with their children every year. Families that have regimented holiday traditions often consider this option. An example of a fixed holiday schedule is the child spending Mother’s Day with his or her mother and Father’s Day with his or her father.
When none of these options are viable, a family might simply opt to celebrate holidays twice so the child can experience them with both parents. When you are working through the divorce process, keep your child’s needs in mind. It is important that he or she continues to have regular contact with both you and your former spouse, as well as with your families.
Call a Divorce Attorney To Help Set Up a Holiday Parenting Schedule
Creating a child custody agreement can be difficult. Speak with an experienced Oak Brook family attorney about creating a workable holiday custody schedule that you and your former spouse can agree to. Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. is here to help families in the DuPage County area through the divorce process. Let us help you make this process a little bit easier. Call our office in Oak Brook, Illinois today at (877) 889-4515 for your free legal consultation.