Divorcing parents should always keep the best interests of their children in mind when negotiating a divorce settlement and custody schedule. This is especially true for holiday seasons. Christmas time can create magical, happy memories for a child. Divorced parents who are willing to put aside their own differences and focus on making that happen will set the holiday tone for their children for years to come. There are several ways to consider dividing time among families.
First, parents can choose to schedule holiday dinners and events on different weekends. For example, one parent can host a family Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, while the other agrees to hold a family function on either the weekend before or the weekend after. This allows the children plenty of time with both families, without having to constantly watch the clock and rush to visit with everyone. They can spend time with family members whom they may not get to see very often. In addition, the custodial parent does not have to leave the family to transport the child back to the other parent. In this scenario, the parents can choose to alternate even and odd-numbered years where every other year the children will be with them on the actual holiday.
Another option would be for the parents to agree to equal time with the children on a holiday. For example, the children can spend 6 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. with the mother, and 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. with the father on Christmas Day. While this is a viable option, it does create a hectic schedule for everyone involved during a time that should be carefree and joy-filled for a child.
Last, though it is a rare occurrence, high-functioning divorced families who still treat each other with respect and kindness can choose to spend the holidays together, under one roof. In some instances, they may even include extended families. This allows the children to experience holidays just as if a divorce never happened, in turn allowing them the experience of a true family tradition.
A divorce attorney can assist greatly in mapping out a holiday schedule to match the best interests of all involved. Those dealing with this or any other custody issue should take the time to understand their rights and options.