While you’re negotiating a parenting plan with your co-parent, it’s important to have everything spelled out as specifically as possible, in order to prevent fighting later on. Planning for holiday visitation in advance is especially important, as emotions are already up around the holidays, and any conflict is likely to be exacerbated.
Holidays and Special Days To Plan For
It’s important to think ahead and plan for holidays and special days that could cause friction between you and your co-parent. Although planning for the holidays probably has you thinking about just the typical winter holidays, there are many other holidays, school vacations, and holiday weekends that could be a source of disagreement. Here are a few to consider as you’re negotiating your parenting plan.
- Major holidays: These are the typical holidays you’re probably thinking of, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, but also include other important family-focused holidays, such as the 4th of July, Halloween, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day.
- Religious holidays: If either you or your co-parent are religious, religious holidays will have to be included as well. Christmas can be considered a religious holiday too, plus others such as Good Friday, Easter, Passover, Ramadan, Diwali, and others, depending on your religion.
- Minor holidays: There are many other, smaller holidays that may have significance to your family, especially those that provide three-day weekends that are commonly used for family vacations, such as Memorial Day and Labor Day.
- Birthdays and special occasions: They may not be holidays, but birthdays and any other important recurring days may need to be given some consideration in the parenting plan.
- School vacations: School vacations may require additional child care, so it’s important to include these in your parenting schedule, along with who is responsible for the child care.
How To Determine Holiday Visitation
Once you have a list of holidays and other important dates that will need to be addressed, you and your co-parent can decide how they’ll fit into your parenting schedule. This may depend a little on whether custody is shared or held by one parent, what the normal parenting schedule looks like, and what makes sense to you and your co-parent.
- Splitting: If neither parent is willing to give up important days, such as Christmas and birthdays, you can split the day. This would mean the child spending half the day with one parent and half with the other, so it’s best for co-parents who have a good working relationship with one another as well as a habit of punctuality. Splitting also works well for school vacations, such as spring break.
- Alternating: To avoid the hassle of dividing an important day in half, many co-parents opt for alternating holidays. For example, one year you might get Thanksgiving and your co-parent might get Christmas, and the next year you’d switch. Alternating also works well for addressing three-day weekends.
- No changes: Sometimes you might not need to change the parenting schedule at all, such as for certain minor holidays or summer vacations. You can simply continue with your regular parenting schedule.
- Long distance: If you and your co-parent live too far apart to use a more frequently alternating parenting schedule, most likely one parent will have the kids during the school year and the other parent will get them during vacations, with alternating major holidays.
Planning for holiday visitation is an important part of setting up a parenting plan, but it doesn’t always go smoothly. If you need assistance negotiating a fair parenting plan, contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today.