How to Coordinate Child Custody Arrangements for the Holidays
While holidays are usually a special time for families to gather, it can get stressful when parents must consider child custody arrangements. Planning the co-parenting arrangements beforehand can make it easier for the entire family on what to expect and what has been agreed upon.
When creating your holiday custody agreement, here are some ideas on what could be best for your family.
Alternate Every Year
One of the simplest ways to coordinate custody arrangements is to alternate holidays each year. For example, if Parent A gets Christmas this year, then Parent B will have custody next year on Christmas, and so forth.
Another option is to switch every holiday within a year. For example, Parent A may get custody for Thanksgiving, Parent B for Christmas, and then Parent A gets custody for New Year. One drawback to this arrangement is that the child or children will only spend the holiday with one parent instead of both.
Split The Holiday
Splitting the holiday means Parent A will get custody for part of the day while Parent B will get the rest of the day. This way, children can experience the holiday with both parents. This type of arrangement will need either specific times or a certain number of hours for custody.
The downside to splitting holidays is that it may not be possible if the parents live far away from each other. Factoring in the travel time may make this arrangement more difficult. Child custody exchanges also need to be considered to prevent contentious meetings between parents.
There may be special holidays where the parents get custody every year. For example, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are typically spent with the relevant parent.
There may also be certain religious holidays that Parent A celebrates and Parent B doesn’t. In this case, it may make sense for the children to spend the holiday with Parent A every year.
Schedule Holidays Twice
Twice the holiday celebrations may be the best solution for your family. One parent can celebrate Christmas the weekend before while the other parent can celebrate on December 25th. This can be useful for the entire family since no one is splitting time and no additional travel arrangements have to be made.
While your holiday custody agreement may have been beneficial to everyone when it was first created, things can change. Maybe one of the parents moved out of state or the children are old enough to have an opinion on how they want to spend their holidays.
Regardless of the reason, changing the holiday child custody agreement is possible but it needs to be filed with the court. The process can involve notifying the other parent by writing and having them agree to a new arrangement.
However, modifying the child custody arrangement isn’t always easy, especially if the parents disagree about what is best for the child’s well-being.
You should always consult with a family law attorney before making any changes to a child custody agreement or if you need help creating one. Family law offices can help with the holiday schedule and avoid future issues with contempt and enforcement.
Henry & Beaver in Lebanon, PA has extensive experience helping families create an appropriate child custody agreement. We understand custody disputes are challenging and emotional for both sides. We can help you keep moving the process forward. Call 717-274-3644 or fill out our online form to get started.