Developing a Fair Holiday Visitation Schedule

A mother and child by the ocean

It can be difficult for families to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season after a divorce. While former spouses tend to struggle emotionally in the aftermath, it’s their children who suffer the most because they have extremely limited control over their present circumstances. As a responsible co-parent, it’s important to negotiate a fair and comprehensive holiday visitation schedule before your divorce negotiations are completed. This prevents future conflict between you and your ex and protects your child from experiencing the guilt of having to choose between parents.

This schedule should take priority over the residential schedule because it specifically accounts for holidays and special occasions. Each family has its own dynamic, so there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to developing a plan that reflects your unique needs. After all, the purpose of a holiday schedule is twofold: provide stability to your family and help your child maintain positive and healthy relationships with both you and your former spouse.

Here are some examples of how you can schedule your holiday time:

  • Assign Fixed Holidays: Some co-parents prefer permanently assigning certain holidays in advance. By maintaining a fixed schedule, there are no questions about which parent has custody. If the parents ever decide to make an exception, they can discuss the resolve the matter in private.
  • Split the Holiday in Half: If geography isn’t a concern, you and your ex can split important holidays. This allows your child to celebrate with both of their parents. However, this arrangement requires a lot of planning and demands an amicable relationship between you and your ex.
  • Alternate Holidays Every Other Year: Most parents find this option the most convenient, though perhaps not the easiest emotionally. You and your ex can alternate which parent has custody on specific holidays each year. For example, you can have custody on Christmas in 2018, your ex can have custody in 2019, and so forth.

Of course, it’s important to remember that you aren’t prohibited from celebrating any holiday with your child. Even if you don’t have custody on a specific day, you can still plan an alternative celebration at a different time. If your former spouse has custody on Thanksgiving Day, you can schedule your own holiday feast the weekend before or after. For example, many co-parents split this holiday so that one parent has Thanksgiving Day and the other has the 3-day weekend.

Important occasions and holidays to plan for include:

  • Your child’s birthday
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • 3-day weekends
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Winter break
  • Spring break
  • Fall break
  • Easter
  • Halloween
  • Religious holidays

Negotiate a Fair Holiday Schedule Today

If you’re planning to file for divorce or need guidance in developing or modifying a parental plan, contact the Florida family lawyers at The Virga Law Firm, P.A. We can answer your questions and help you proceed through this important and complicated legal process.

We accept calls 24/7! Contact The Virga Law Firm, P.A. at (800) 822-5170 to schedule a consultation.

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