The holiday season is quickly approaching. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and other winter celebrations will be here before we know it. For many, the holidays are an occasion to relax and spend time with the ones we love most. However, this can be difficult when parents are divorced.
If you are getting a divorce – or thinking about getting a divorce – it’s important to dedicate time and energy to designing a custody arrangement that works best for your family. Any child custody plan should address an issue that causes a lot of strife and distress: where children will spend the holidays.
How Timeshare Custody Can Affect Your Holiday Plans
Timeshare custody refers to the amount of time a child spends with each parent. Put another way, timeshare custody reflects the amount of time each parent can enjoy physical custody of their child. It’s important to know your timeshare custody percentage. It can definitely influence when and/or how frequently you’re permitted to have custody of your child.
Holidays are no exception. If you want to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with your kids you may have to give up custody at other times of the year. Why? Your time with your kids can’t exceed your timeshare custody percentage unless the other parent agrees.
Discussing Holidays and Child Custody Agreements
As a parent, you have an obligation to create a child custody agreement before your divorce can be finalized. This agreement should contain specific details about when each parent will have custody of the children. Finding a mutually-agreeable arrangement can take a lot of time and compromise. It’s important to work together to find a solution that allows children to spend special holiday time with both parents.
Here are things to consider when discussing holidays and child custody arrangements:
- Travel time and distance
- School schedules
- Holiday traditions, and
- Childrens’ ages and interest in holidays.
Parents may also want to consider “sharing” certain holidays with their children together. Rather than giving up the holiday altogether, exes who get along well can agree to spend time together for the sake of their kids. This may be most beneficial when young children who are mesmerized by the magic of holidays are affected.
Examples of Holiday Custody Arrangements
There are many ways to create a custody agreement and divide holidays between parents. Here are some examples of custody arrangements that have been successfully implemented and used by parents in Los Angeles.
Alternating Holidays: Parents can create an arrangement where each gets custody of the kids for different holidays. The holidays rotate every year. Example: Parent A gets custody on Thanksgiving in “odd” years and Parent B gets custody on Thanksgiving in “even” years.
Christmas/Christmas Eve Divide: Christmas and Christmas Eve are both equally important holidays in many families. Some parents agree to split custody between the two days. For example, Parent A gets custody of the kids on Christmas Eve and Parent B gets custody of the kids on Christmas.
Winter Break/Spring Break: When parents live in opposite corners of the country it can be difficult to create a custody arrangement that caters to both parents needs to spend time with their children. Travel can be costly and time-consuming. Kids may become overwhelmed or upset when they’re continually shuttled back and forth between parents.
Parents can consider giving up the right to certain holidays altogether. Perhaps Christmas just isn’t all that important to you, or you recognize how much your children enjoy spending time with your ex and in-laws. You could agree to give your ex-spouse custodial rights for all of Christmas break. In exchange, however, you get custody of the kids for all of spring break or a good part of the summer.
Create a Holiday Schedule That Works For Your Family
Divorces involving children tend to be more complicated than most. If you have joint custody, it’s important to consider how and when each parent will be able to spend time with those children. Do not forget to discuss holidays when creating a child custody plan.
Figure out which holidays are most important to you before you sit down to draft an arrangement. However, it’s important to put your wishes aside and try to identify an arrangement that’s in the best interests of your children. Work together with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to create a plan that works for everyone.
Do you need help creating a child custody plan? Are you afraid that your spouse is going to try to prevent you from spending the holidays with your children? Contact our Los Angeles family law attorneys for assistance. We offer a free consultation, so don’t hesitate to call for help today.