Child custody and visitation are typically hotly contested elements of any divorce. Parents who have chosen to end their marriage must attempt to reconcile their needs with the needs of their children – in addition to the needs of a potentially complex calendar. Unfortunately, debates can rage on even after the divorce has been finalized.

During the initial parenting time negotiations or through numerous revisions, parents are encouraged to remain positive and work together to deliver the best experience possible for their children. Several holidays must be given special consideration because both parents usually want to spend time with the child.

  • Birthdays: Admittedly, birthdays might mean less to adults, but they are truly special days to children. Parents handle this in several ways – scheduling a short visit for the non-custodial parent on the birthday, assign both parents birthday time in the schedule, or alternate the birthday year to year.
  • Three-day weekends: These can include parental work holidays as well as the child’s school holidays – most times, the holidays overlap. Again, solutions can include alternating holidays during the year or separating them on a yearly basis.
  • Thanksgiving weekend: Generally, schools and jobs will celebrate Thanksgiving in some fashion. Parents can alternate year to year, or, possibly split the day into “morning with dad” and “evening with mom.” Additionally, parents might separate the Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving weekend from the weekend itself.
  • Christmas holiday: One parent can have the child on Christmas Eve and the other can have the child on Christmas Day. Additionally, the parents might choose to alternate the holiday on a yearly basis. Parents who live in close proximity might also choose to split time right down the middle and have Christmas morning with one parent and Christmas evening with the other.

How you choose to ultimately separate your holidays will be unique to the needs of your family, but these are important considerations to make. With the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can make the right decisions for your family and create a loving holiday schedule for your children.