With school back in session and the holiday season fast approaching, divorced parents must pay special attention to the parenting time schedule that might have been drafted years ago. Many school districts are following a hybrid model which might place additional pressure on parents. It is wise to take an advance look at your calendar to ensure problems have been ironed out.
It’s possible you divorced when the child was a toddler, so extra considerations did not have to be addressed. As your child gets older, however, it is wise to thoroughly examine your parenting time schedule to ensure holidays are appropriately split.
Here are four ways that parents divide and share holiday time:
- Alternate holidays every other year: This might be the most straightforward solution, but many parents simply decide to alternate holidays, with one parent taking the odd-numbered years and the other parent taking the evens.
- Split the holiday in half: In a plan that requires timing and coordination, parents can split the holiday in half either spending part of the day at each home or separating the “eve” from the actual “day of.”
- Schedule the holiday twice: With planning and encouragement, this method won’t feel like a sudden, tacked-on event. For example, make it known all year that Christmas with dad will be on December 20th and Christmas with mom will be December 25th. Make it a celebration for the child.
- Assign fixed holidays: This type of information might come out during negotiations, but it’s possible that one parent thinks birthdays are more important than Thanksgiving, for example. Being able to write a schedule with this level of understanding can be helpful.
With a comprehensive parenting plan in place, the entire family benefits. Holidays can be a positive experience for all those involved. If you need help drafting a parenting time schedule or need to revise an existing plan, it is crucial that you work with an experienced family law attorney.