Developing a Workable Holiday Visitation Schedule

Developing a Workable Holiday Visitation Schedule

Most divorcing parents understand that arrangements will have to be made regarding where their children will spend the holidays going forward. However, completing a fair, comprehensive parenting time schedule is more complicated than saying that a son or daughter will spend Thanksgiving in one house and Christmas or Hanukkah in the other.

Thoughtful discussion regarding holiday visitation and arrangements for other occasions will benefit you, your ex and your children. Instead of trying to resolve conflicts through last-minute discussions or by going to court, you can rely on the terms of the existing order. An effective parenting plan schedule should address the following:

  • Holidays — There are many ways to divide holidays on a visitation schedule. You might wish to have your child switch back and forth between homes on each holiday in a given year. This means they would spend the Fourth of July at your residence and then Labor Day at the home of your ex. For the next year, you could switch holidays. Many sons and daughters spend Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with the other. The same pattern could be used, or reversed, for New Year’s.
  • Summer breaks and other school vacations — The long summer break that most schoolchildren receive offers a good opportunity for extended visitation with a noncustodial parent. During the development of a parenting plan, you should also talk about potential vacations with children during summer, winter and spring breaks.
  • Special days for a particular parent — Naturally, most parenting time schedules call for children to spend Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with the specific parent who is being celebrated at that time. You might want to add similar arrangements for each parent’s birthday.
  • Children’s birthdays — It’s important for mothers and fathers to share in their children’s birthdays and other milestones. When relations are good, parents can agree that they’ll both attend birthday celebrations. However, if that arrangement causes problems, you can explore options such as alternating years or having a separate celebration during the nearest weekend.
  • Family events — Many families have reunions or gatherings that do not correspond with a particular holiday. If you would like your son or daughter to be with you at a family event that occurs on a regular basis or a particular upcoming celebration, it is best to include it within the overall parenting plan rather than asking for an exception later.

Working with an experienced lawyer gives you the best chance to establish an equitable, reliable parenting plan that suits the needs of everyone involved.

Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. handles child custody arrangements as well as all other aspects of the New York divorce process for clients across Long Island. To make an appointment for a consultation, please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online.

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