As we approach the holiday season, we're reminded to be thankful for the things that really matter in life: family and togetherness. But as a parent in the middle of a family crisis like a divorce, the idea of a holiday can conjure up feelings of dread, rather than gratitude. For families who have established a number of traditions this time of year, accepting that this year may be different can be difficult. The good news is that taking the time to devise a thoughtful and specific holiday visitation plan can make for a seamless transition into the holiday season.
Having said that, a lot of work goes into visitation and negotiations between both sides. It's never too early to consider what schedules fit best into your life, your ex's life, and the lives of your children. If you don't know where to start, don't fret - here are some factors to consider when crafting a holiday visitation schedule:
- The holiday traditions that are your children most enjoy
- The work and travel schedules of both parents
- Your children's school and extracurricular schedules
- The total amount of travel time and costs associated with holiday events
Regardless, you have some options when it comes to the holiday season. Your first priority is to decide how you and the other parent will share holiday time. Some parents choose to divide the day of the holiday between both parents, while some parents alternate between important holidays, and few combine the methods to fit unique schedules.
For parents who want to split holiday time on the day, specificity is key. First, you both should create a list of holidays that you want to share. Most parents are keen on sharing holidays like Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Then, you both should decide which parent has the child for the first half of the day, and which parent has the child for the second half of the day. All the details, down to when and how your children will commute from each destination, should be discussed and documented. If you or your ex plan on going out of town, this could make planning more difficult, but completely necessary.
With a well-crafted holiday visitation, you're well on your way to creating new holiday traditions. If one parent isn't as receptive to the changes, you can request a modification through the court. This requires the filing of paperwork, and the help of an attorney to help you navigate the process. If you get the ball rolling now, you have a decent amount of time before Thanksgiving and Christmas to sort things out, and it's never too early to think about next year. Happy Holidays to all!
Pennsylvania Family Law Attorney
Split holidays are one of the harshest realities of divorce. Finding an ideal solution that satisfies all parties when drafting a holiday visitation plan can be difficult, especially if you're having a hard time seeing eye to eye with your ex. Consult with legal advocate Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm if you need help figuring out how to draft a thorough and effective plan. Contact him today at 888-535-3686.