If you’re a parent, you’ve probably already started thinking ahead to the holidays – and, if you’re newly separated or divorced, that means figuring out how to make the holiday visitation schedule work in a way that will keep the magic alive for your children.
What are the options? Here are some of the most common ways that divorced parents work things out:
1. Use a fixed schedule
If you and your ex-spouse celebrate different holidays or just have different priorities, you may be able to work out a fixed holiday schedule that you can follow every year.
For example, you may want Rosh Hashanah and Passover with your kids, while your co-parent may want Christmas and Easter. While that may still leave some conflicts over secular winter holidays, like Thanksgiving and Halloween, you might be able to divide those, as well.
This can also be a particularly useful way to handle your holidays if one of you is a long-distance parent since a predictable schedule can make early planning for travel easier.
2. Divide special days in half
If you and your co-parent live fairly close together, you may want to divide special days in half.
For example, you can agree that the children will spend Christmas Eve morning with one parent, then the evening and Christmas morning with the other, before heading back to the first parent’s house.
That way, each of you can spend some quality time making memories with your children, and the kids don’t have to feel conflicted about missing either parent on the holidays.
3. Rotate the schedule each year
You can always agree to rotate the holiday schedule by the year. For example, if you get Thanksgiving with the kids this year and your co-parent gets Christmas, that will reverse next year – along with any other holidays you agree to rotate.
This is popular with a lot of parents because it avoids the complications of trying to coordinate holiday schedules with a co-parent and there’s less chance that kids will feel overwhelmed traveling between two houses
4. Hold your own holidays
There’s no rule that says you can celebrate a holiday on a different day than normal. This is sometimes combined with a rotating holiday schedule because it essentially lets both parents have the experience of the holidays with their kids (and you can bet that the kids don’t mind celebrating twice).
For example, if your co-parent has the kids on Thanksgiving this year, you can hold your own family feast on the following Saturday when it’s your time with the kids.
The foundation of any successful parenting schedule is open and respectful communication between co-parents where they can freely discuss their concerns, priorities and hopes for the holidays. By engaging in a constructive dialogue with your co-parent, you can work together to find solutions that benefit everyone involved, especially your children.
At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is struggling to craft an effective parenting plan and holiday schedule, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.
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Mia Poppe, Esq.