As the holiday season approaches it is a good time to figure out where children will spend the holidays if you are separated or divorced. A good custody order will include a holiday schedule. Frequently seen provisions include alternating holidays so that one parent has a holiday in even years while the other parent has it in odd years. Another option is splitting the holidays so that each party has a certain time allotted on the holiday itself. This works best if the parties are in close proximity to each other to minimize travel time on the holiday. There could be a holiday schedule which provides for the parties to always have the same holidays every year. In some instances, a custody order may simply state that holidays will be shared as mutually agreed upon by the parties without specifics. This is only recommended if you have a good relationship with the other parent to avoid arguments or stressful last-minute negotiations.
Another consideration is if there are unique family traditions that don’t occur on the actual holiday, such as an annual party that the kids may want to be involved in. If one party usually travels during the holiday season this should be addressed when drafting a holiday schedule. Holiday and vacation time will generally supersede the regular custody schedule, however, be sure any custody order makes clear whether the holiday schedule or vacation provision takes top priority. As a practical matter, parties should try to be as civil and cooperative as possible when discussing holiday time. The holidays can be an especially difficult time for families that are going through separation and divorce and everyone involved will benefit from a process that is as amicable as possible.