Christmas and Child Visitation Disputes

Posted by Josh Valentine | Dec 06, 2019

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

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. 

Sharing Holidays

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.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar