Custodial Time During the Holidays

Holiday Visitation and Custody

As the holidays approach, it is important to think about parenting time with your children. Setting up and sticking to the holiday custody and visitation schedule is an important part of your custodial arrangement. Children have a lot of memories and expectations that go along with holidays, and when parents separate or divorce the children can have great anxiety that their holidays will no longer be any fun.

You should make a holiday custody schedule, whether by agreement or determination by the court, and be prepared to discuss it with your children. Discussing it with your children does not mean telling them everything that you and your ex talked about or the various allegations in your case. It means explaining to them how the holiday schedule will work and reassuring them that the holidays will still be a special time for them with their family. Here are some ideas for preparing your holiday schedule.

Common ways to share holiday time with your children are as follows:

  • Alternate holidays every other year. You can assign holidays to each parent for even years and then swap the holidays in odd years. With this arrangement, you won't miss spending a particular holiday with your children in consecutive years.

  • Split the holiday in half. You can split the day of the holiday so that your children spend part of the day with each parent. This arrangement requires planning and coordination because you don't want your children to spend holidays traveling all day.

  • Schedule a holiday twice. You can schedule time for each parent to celebrate a holiday with your children. For example, one parent can celebrate Christmas with the children on Dec. 24th and the other parent on the 25th.

  • Assign fixed holidays. You can have each parent celebrate the same holidays with the children every year. If parents have different holidays that they think are important, each parent can have those holidays every year.

Any combination of these ideas to share holiday time can also work, so long as your situation permits. The important thing to remember is that your schedule should allow your children to enjoy family traditions and spend quality time with both parents.

While Thanksgiving and Winter breaks from school often precipitate the conversation about holiday visitation, there are other holidays and special days throughout the year that deserve special consideration. Examples include Spring break, Summer vacation, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, children’s birthdays, parents’ birthdays, 4th of July, and any of the Monday holidays.

Contact a Wayside Legal Child Custody Lawyer

Regardless of your current situation, it makes sense to discuss holiday visitation with an experienced family law attorney.

Wayside Legal LLC is an award-winning law firm located in North Bethesda, Maryland, with years of experience handling child custody and visitation proceedings throughout the state. If you are facing a child custody case in Maryland where your child has stated a custody preference, contact a Wayside Legal attorney today for a consultation to discuss your specific situation.