Christmas is supposed to be a time for joy, family gatherings, and watching kids open presents under the tree. Unfortunately for parents involved in custody disputes, Christmas can be a stressful time and lead to fights between parents, family members, and children. If you are involved in a child custody dispute and worry about what will happen over the winter holiday, talk to your North Carolina family law attorneys for help.
Parenting Plan for Holidays and Breaks
One of the most important parts of a parenting plan for parents sharing custody is figuring out what happens on major holidays, birthdays, and school breaks. When children are younger, these events represent important times between a child and parent. It is important for parents to come to a mutual agreement on how to handle breaks and holidays, otherwise, the courts may make that decision.
Both the custodial and non-custodial parent may feel like suggested schedules are unfair or not balanced enough to allow for important time with each parent. The non-custodial parent may want all breaks and holidays since they do not get day-to-day time with the child. However, the custodial parent may not want to let the other parent get all the holidays when the holidays are just as important for the custodial parent.
Options for Winter Holiday Child Visitation Plans
There are a number of options for parents sharing custody and visitation over the winter holidays. This includes set-schedule holiday allocation; alternating yearly holidays; or sharing holidays.
With a set-schedule, the parents will divide up the holidays and breaks to provide a predictable yearly schedule that does not vary much from year-to-year. This also provides predictability for parents and children, who can rely on the schedule and do not have to regularly negotiate or fight about holidays.
Alternating holidays allows parents to have guaranteed time for each holiday, even if it is only every other year. Generally, parents can alternate major holidays, such as Thanksgiving with one parent and Christmas with the other parent, with the holidays switched for the following year.
Depending on the parents' living situation, there may be time to share each holiday. When parents live near each other, there may be time for Christmas morning at one house and Christmas dinner at the other. Even if the parents do not live a short distance away, parents can get creative and have Christmas a week early or a week late, something most kids will not mind as they still get two opportunities to celebrate one of the biggest days for kids.
Out-of-Town Holiday Trips for Christmas
Winter break and summer break are generally the longest breaks kids have off of school. Winter holidays also give many working parents days off that they can tack on to vacation days for an extended break. Winter holidays are some of the most popular times for parents traveling with their kids. This can also make it a source of dispute for parents sharing custody.
It is important that both parents agree to vacation and out-of-state travel as far ahead of time as possible. Some parents use the excuse of already booking a plane ticket as a way to leverage getting time with the kids that was not previously agreed upon. However, the other parent can still go to court to enforce the visitation schedule.
Shelby Child Custody Lawyers
Parents in a dispute over child custody during the Christmas holidays can benefit from the experienced legal advice that the skilled attorneys at Caulder & Valentine have to offer. Contact us today for a consultation.