Managing the Holidays and Special Occasions When You Share Custody of Your Children

Family Lawyer

Sharing in the care of your children is a common arrangement that must be created when two people decide to no longer be in a relationship with one another. The challenge to this is with emotions running high, it can be especially challenging to put together a custody arrangement when each party is vying for time with their child. Despite this, a well-executed custody arrangement can give you and your ex the ability to have a clear plan to follow when it comes to the care and visitation of your children. At times, this can help to reduce the stress faced by parents. One of the most challenging components to child custody arrangements is sorting out the holidays by determining how they will be celebrated from here on out. With the help of a lawyer, they can help to negotiate a child custody arrangement that keeps your interests at the forefront. Here are some considerations to make when sorting out the holidays in a child custody agreement:

Before You Plan

Before you begin determining which parent will have the children for specified holidays, know which holidays you will need to agree upon. There are the obvious ones such as Thanksgiving and Christmas but there are others you may have not even considered. Sit down prior to negotiations to create a list of holidays that should be considered. Make a list of all holidays that may need to be considered, for example:

  • State/Local Holidays
  • Federal Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Religious Holidays
  • School Breaks such as:
    • Spring Break
    • Fall Break
    • Christmas Vacation
    • Winter Break
    • Summer Break

Knowing what you will be negotiating can help when it comes to creating a plan, especially in more contentious situations amongst parents. The last thing you want to have to deal with is a holiday that you failed to create an agreement around.

Consider the Time Frame

It’s not enough to just define the date. You should also consider the timeframe that each holiday should last. This is often a key component that may not even cross your mind. You will need to know the start time, and the end time for each holiday so that each parent understands the timeframe. For example, a holiday like Christmas Eve should have a start and end time. What time is the holiday officially “over” for that parent? You will need to make sure you develop timeframes for each holiday so that there is no question on the day of.

The Key is in the Details

Spending the holidays without your children can be heartbreaking. It can be challenging to come to terms with this aspect of sharing custody. However, the more detailed you are able to be in your custody arrangement, the easier it is to manage the holidays. Leaving things too open-ended, can cause the holidays to be more challenging and emotional than they need to be.

If you are in the midst of sorting out child custody, do not hesitate in contacting a lawyer. You deserve an attorney with experience to stand by your side while you weather this storm. Children are what we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts, it can be difficult to contend with child custody arrangements, especially contentious custody situations. An experienced attorney can guide you through this process so that you come out the other side with a well-developed child custody arrangement.  

Source: Family Lawyer Bloomington, IL, Pioletti & Pioletti

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