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Should I Bring up Holidays When Determining Child Custody and Visitation?

Posted on July 1st, 2023

Determining Child Custody and Visitation

Child Custody and VisitationDivorce or separation can be emotionally taxing, especially when minor children are involved. One of the concerns that parents usually have is how to handle holidays after the divorce or separation. Although the focus is usually on the overall custody plans for the children, it is essential to bring up holidays during the custody and visitation arrangements discussion. This ensures that the children’s best interests are prioritized and the parents do not have conflicts during the holidays.

In this article, we will explore why including a holiday schedule is essential in custody and visitation arrangements, considerations when determining the schedule, and possible ways to arrange custody and visitation for holidays. A Los Angeles family lawyer can provide invaluable assistance if you need legal help during this process.

Why a Child Custody Holiday Schedule is Important

A holiday custody and visitation schedule can be helpful for both parents and children. This is because of the following reasons.

  • Predictability and Stability

Parents want the best for their children, regardless of the underlying issues that may have led to their separation and divorce. This includes giving their children stability and predictability as they know which parent they will spend time with on specific holidays. This way, children gain a sense of security, especially during times of change and uncertainty.

  • Nurturing Family Bonds

Holidays are the perfect time for children to meet up with relatives they do not get to see as frequently. Having a holiday schedule ensures the children can bond with family members from both sides. No matter the situation between you and your ex, children deserve this opportunity, and that is why you should bring up the holiday discussion when determining custody and visitation.

  • Eliminating Conflicts

A well-planned holiday schedule also helps eliminate conflicts and arguments between parents. Since each parent gets to know which holidays they will spend with the children, this can alleviate conflicts when holiday time comes.

Considerations When Determining Custody and Visitation for Holidays

Some factors to consider when determining child custody and visitation for holidays include:

  • Age of the Children – You should consider your child’s age and stage of development when coming up with the holiday schedule. While younger children may need frequent contact with both parents, older ones may prefer a more extended duration with each parent to fully enjoy the holiday festivities.
  • Family Traditions – Traditions, particularly those observed during major holidays or special celebrations, can foster stability in children. Developing a holiday custody arrangement that preserves the traditions that mean most to your children while changing those that may not mean as much to them is essential. If your children are old enough, talk to them to determine the family traditions they think are most important to them. This can help parents strive to include these essential aspects in the holiday schedule.
  • Travel Costs – Another consideration, particularly for parents who live far apart from each other or travel to a holiday destination, is the cost of travel. It is essential to outline which parent pays for the travel expenses in the divorce agreement.

Possible Ways to Arrange Custody and Visitation for Holidays

While every family’s situation is unique, different options can reduce the stress of creating an effective holiday custody schedule.

Alternating Holidays

This is a common approach where parents alternate holidays each year. For example, if one parent has the child’s custody on Thanksgiving and the other on Christmas one year, the following year, they would switch such that the first parent spends time with the children on Christmas and the other on Thanksgiving.

Splitting Holidays

This option often works if both parents live near each other such that the children spend half the holiday with one parent and half with the other. This can be too tiring for younger children, so take time before choosing to go this route.

Celebrating the Holidays Together

This option may only work if you and your ex had an amicable divorce and are still on good terms. It can be an excellent opportunity for children to spend the holidays with both parents like old times.

Book Your Consultation With a Qualified Los Angeles Family Law Attorney Today

Holidays are essential to kids’ upbringing and should therefore be included in the parenting plan. While you and your spouse may disagree on holiday timesharing schedules, you should know that your decisions should be in the child’s best interests.

If you need legal help with a parenting plan, contact our Los Angeles family law attorneys at 310-745-8644 to book your consultation today. We can guide you through the process to develop the best possible plan for you and your family.