Your time is the greatest gift your children will ever receive over the holidays. To ensure a festive celebration this year, the following are some things to remember about holidays and shared custody.
Dividing the Time
Unless domestic violence is involved, Arizona courts prefer to share holiday time between mom and dad. However, it’s up to you to decide the best way to do this. Most families choose to alternate holidays, i.e., you have the children for Easter, I’ll take them for Christmas. You have the children for Thanksgiving, and I’ll have them for Independence Day.
When both families are in the same area, some parents choose to split the time by giving each parent half a day on the holiday itself. Some rotate the holidays, i.e., I’ll have the children for Christmas this year, you’ll have them next year. Others may split the holiday such as one parent will have Christmas eve and the other Christmas day, depending on family traditions.
How you choose to make this division is entirely up to you and your ex-spouse. Whenever possible, you will want to determine this schedule as amicably as possible. Arizona courts will require you to enter your agreed-upon schedule into the formal parenting plan.
Phone Calls, Skype, etc.
It is common for the parenting plan to include calls, Skype conversations, etc. with the other side of their family on the holidays. You will want to coordinate this schedule and make sure that your children are available to make that call at the appointed time. This will help ease homesickness and, as much as possible, provide a sense of normalcy for their holidays.
You should also be prepared for the child to want to make additional phone calls. Whether they want to share exciting news or voice a complaint about grandma’s jello mold, these conversations outside the schedule plan can help ease holiday anxiety.
Your kids may be down the street or across the country over the holidays. Wherever they are and whomever they are with, you are still on call to help them if needed. Always make sure that your children know where you will be and how they can reach you. If you are planning on making a quick trip while they are away, be sure they have accurate contact information for the home or hotel where you are staying.
Coordinating with Family
You may have your kids on Thanksgiving or Christmas, or you may have them a few days after the official holiday. You may need to adjust your celebrations so that your kids can spend time with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other extended relatives on both sides of their family. It’s best to coordinate these plans well in advance of the holidays so that your children and ex-spouse know the schedule and can prepare accordingly.
What to do When “Jr” Gets Stubborn
Your son may not want to spend time with his dull Aunt Martha, and your daughter may want to spend time hanging out with her friends. There are going to be times when your children won’t want to go to the other parent. This type of refusal usually happens around the onset of puberty, but it can happen at any time the child wants to assert their independence. However, unless the other parent agrees to the change in writing, Arizona statutes governing holidays and shared custody state that you can be held in contempt of court if your minor child doesn’t go.
Contact Simon Law Group, PLLC at (480) 568-1141 for more information about the holidays and shared custody. It’s our pleasure to answer your questions and help you find solutions that work for you and your children.