Custody During The Holidays: Tips for Dividing Your Time

When people who have children divorce, one of the primary concerns is the custody arrangement. Apart from deciding whether one parent will have sole custody or the parents will have joint custody, both parents will need to agree to an appropriate schedule that is in the best interest of the children. Even in an amicable divorce case, custody is often a point of contention. Furthermore, creating a holiday custody schedule that both parties agree on is challenging at best. For this reason, divorce lawyers in Springfield, MO, or even mediators are hired to organize a schedule for holidays that can be settled upon. 

If you are currently discussing custody arrangements or need help modifying your current custody, especially your holiday arrangements in a fairer way, Missouri Legal can help. We have helped hundreds of couples coordinate custody arrangements that are beneficial for all parties involved. 

Continue reading for ideas and common holiday custody schedules that have worked effectively for many divorced parents. 

Starting Out: Define Your Most Important Holidaystwo people holding sparkers

One of the biggest reasons for an argument around custody during the holidays is that many people agree on the importance of the same holidays. However, it’s best to define which holidays are essential before creating a schedule. Springfield, MO divorce lawyers recommend establishing which holidays are important to you and which are not. For example, your ex-spouse or co-parent may love celebrating Halloween, while you, on the other hand, don’t give it much thought. In these cases, you can create a fixed holiday schedule. A fixed holiday schedule means that the child will spend every year with that particular parent for that specific holiday. Remember, nothing is set in stone, and you can amend your holiday schedule custody either with a divorce lawyer in Springfield or between yourselves (unless you’ve been advised otherwise).

In the opposite circumstance, where both parties view a particular holiday with the same importance comprises will need to be made. As this article from Our Family Wizard states, “ If you find yourself in a situation where one holiday is of particular importance to both you and your co-parent, stay open-minded and think of cooperative solutions that will allow both of you to celebrate with your children. “ 

Common Ways To Share Holidays

In addition to a fixed holiday schedule, here are some other accepted ways that co-parents divide holiday custody for their children:

  • Split The Holiday- For some co-parents it makes sense to split the holiday in half. Essentially, the child would spend one half of the day with one parent and the rest of the day or night with the other. It’s best to coordinate this ahead of time so that your child isn’t spending his or her holiday traveling, rather than celebrating. 
  • Celebrate Twice – This arrangement gives your child the ability to celebrate the holidays with both parents for a full day. Celebrating a holiday twice means that one parent may have the child for the actual holiday and the other parent will celebrate that holiday on a day before or after.
  • Alternate Holidays – This custody agreement alternates holidays every other year. A common way that many co-parents arrange this is by assigning holidays to each parent on even years and then swapping on odd years, says Custody XChange

Special Considerations 

Not all holidays are created equal; for these holidays such as your child’s birthday, three day weekends or Christmas break, special considerations should be taken. Here are some tips to make these holidays more manageable:

  • Child’s Birthday – Some co-parents will schedule a time for the parent who does not have the child on their birthday to come to see the child or you can alternate the years as previously mentioned. 
  • Christmas Holiday – Parents can divide their holiday so that one parent has Christmas Day and the other has Christmas Eve. Another compromise would be to give one parent winter break, and the other has New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 
  • Three Day Weekends – Three day weekends should be planned out the year ahead. Parents can split the weekends, alternate the weekends, or allow the parent who has the weekend to keep the child for the Monday as well. 

Regardless of how you split the holidays with your children, it’s critical to keep an open mind, be willing to compromise, and always keep the children’s interest before the interests of either parent. 

If you would like assistance designing a custody solution for your current situation, please contact our Springfield. MO divorce lawyers today. We want to make sure that you and your family have the best holiday season this year.