Holiday Visitation: Have a Plan in Place

Having a Schedule in Place Is Key

For some Rhode Island families, this will be the first holiday season where the parents are no longer together because they’re newly separated or divorced. Even for parents who can amicably handle custody and visitation with their children throughout the year, the holidays can bring conflict.

It’s important to include holidays in your custody and visitation plan. First, this can prevent arguments and confusion when the holidays roll around. Also, having a plan in place for the holidays also gives children a sense of security that they know where and how they’ll be spending their time.

Many family courts get overwhelmed around the holidays with couples fighting over who will have the kids when. So, you can prevent the time-consuming, expensive, stressful process of taking your ex to court by having a plan in place and respecting it.

People traditionally manage holiday custody in one of two ways: split time and alternating years. If you and your co-parent live close together and get along well enough to transport the kids back and forth over the holidays, split time may be the best option. Kids can spend Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with the other, for example. Or they may spend Thanksgiving with one side of the family and have a second Thanksgiving the following day with the other side.

Some parents, however, choose alternating years when it comes to holidays. There, if the parents don’t live close to one other, it may be simpler to let kids spend their winter break with one parent and then the next year, spend it with the other. Often, if the matter goes to court, that’s generally the option that judges choose because it’s simpler.

Holidays Will Not Always Be the Same

Divorced couples often must accept the fact that they won’t be able to spend every important holiday with their children. As a result, they learn that it’s not the specific date, but the celebration itself, that’s important. If you can’t spend Christmas Day with your kids, instead you can have your own celebration with them on another day. And most kids don’t mind two Christmases! The essential thing to remember is not to make the holidays a time that they associate with parental battles.

So, if your parenting plan doesn’t include holidays, or if the plan you have in place isn’t working, your Rhode Island family law attorney can help you seek a plan that will work better for you and, most importantly, for your children.

Source: Huffington Post, “Holidays, Divorce and Who Gets The Children?,” Jason Levoy, accessed Oct. 20, 2016

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