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As parents, we want to spend the holidays with our children. We want to share the joy, the memories, and the traditions of our extended family gatherings with our kids. It is almost a certainty that your children's other parent will also want to spend the holidays with the children. But, unless you are co-parenting and spending the holidays together, it is unlikely you will both get every holiday with your children.
Planning is important
To avoid disappointments and fights, you must implement into any parenting plan a detailed holiday visitation schedule. The parenting plan should not only list the holidays, birthdays, and other special days, but should specify the special parenting pick-up and drop-off times for the holidays. These rules should supersede the regular parenting schedule.
So, for example, if Christmas is celebrated, one parent could have the children for Christmas eve in even years and Christmas day in odd years. But, if the holiday celebrations entail travel to visit extended family, splitting Christmas eve and day may not work. Instead, the parenting agreement could, provide that the traveling parent could have the child for the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s. In exchange, the other parent could have that same week the following year or some other desired vacation period (Thanksgiving or Spring break). There are no hard and fast rules other than what is specified in your parenting plan or custody agreement.
Communicate in advance of the holiday
If travel is involved, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of communicating with the other parent to verify you both share the same understanding of the parenting agreement. Litigating a holiday visitation schedule does not get the holidays off to a festive start.
Understandably, you will miss your children, but celebrating the holidays should not be all about your needs- it should be for the children. Try to set aside any differences with the other parent to enable the children to have a fun and drama-free holiday. Allow and encourage the children to enjoy themselves
If you have questions or concerns regarding your custody or parenting plans, call us (212) 683-9551 or contact us to arrange for a consultation
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