Determining child custody arrangements is often the most difficult component of divorce, and figuring out how you will divide holidays between you and your soon-to-be ex can complicate an already complicated issue. While everyone’s circumstances are unique to their own situation, there are some visitation-schedule basics that can help.
Your Unique Situation
Your divorce did not occur in a vacuum, and you live within a wide range of circumstances that are likely to affect your holiday visitation schedule. These include:
- How far apart you and your ex live from one other (generally, the closer you live to each another, the less complicated your holiday scheduling will be)
- Each of your work schedules (if either schedule is atypical or fluctuating, it will probably complicate things)
- How important specific holidays are to each of you
- How well you and your ex are able to communicate and collaborate
It is important to take your specific circumstances into careful consideration when hammering out your holiday-visitation schedule.
Many parents take a divide-and-conquer approach to holiday visitations. This generally involves dividing the major holidays – including three-day weekends like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Presidents’ Day – into two separate lists. One parent has the kids for the holidays on the first list during even years and has them for the holidays on the second list during odd years (this schedule is flipped for the other parent). This scheduling ensures that you never go more than one year without having your kids for any specific holiday.
Fixing Certain Holidays
Some holidays are far more important to one parent than to the other. For example, some parents get excited about Halloween, and some do not. If there are holidays that mean more to one of you than to the other, you might want to fix those holidays on a set schedule. Many parents also like to fix their own birthdays and Mother’s and Father’s Days since these days are obviously parent-specific.
Your Children’s Birthdays
Figuring out how to split your children’s birthdays can be the most complicated visitation maneuver. After all, every parent wants to spend time with his or her children on their birthdays. If you and your ex live near one another, you will probably be able to figure something out. If you do not, you may have to determine visitation according to when each birthday falls each year – a Saturday birthday is easier to share than a Wednesday birthday, for example.
Three-day weekends are much sought after by parents, and as such, many divorced couples put these on their alternating lists. Others, however, choose to allow whichever parent has the kids that weekend to keep them through the Monday.