How to Come Up with a Holiday Visitation Plan that you Can Both Agree To

terri-november-week-3-img-holiday Divorce is always hard, but it is particularly difficult when the couple that is getting divorced has children. In addition to all of the typical challenges of deciding about alimony or spousal support and establishing an equitable distribution of assets, there are also issues that are specific to the children. These include making decisions about where and with whom the children will live, who has the power to make important legal decisions on the children’s behalf, and how much child support will be provided. Even once these decisions are made there are difficult details that need to be addressed, and few are more emotional then those that revolve around how and with whom the children will spend the holidays. Though some couples believe that the issue can be resolved on an as-needed, basis, there is considerable support for creating a concrete holiday visitation plan that both parties agree to at the outset: though this can be modified at any point in the future, creating this type of plan generally ensures that each side will have their needs addressed and met. The experienced family law mediation attorneys at Erik B. Jensen & Associates have considerable experience in creating holiday visitation schedules, and are pleased to provide you with guidance that we hope will be of some help.

The first step is to identify the holidays that need to be included on the schedule. In addition to obvious celebrations such as Thanksgiving or religious holidays, be sure to make plans to include children’s birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Days celebrations, and each individual parent’s birthdays if you wish to spend them with your kids. Once you have created a list, you need to determine which will be ‘always’ holidays and which will be alternating. You may wish to agree that you each always spend your birthday with your child, regardless of the custody schedule, or that you will always spend the child’s birthday together with them. You may each wish to have Mother’s or Father’s Day, or may wish to alternate those holidays to allow for time to be spent with grandparents.

After determining which holidays will alternate, it is a good idea to set up an odd year/even year schedule that evenly distributes the holidays so that no single person has all holidays in the course of the year. You also want to create a time schedule for pick up and drop off for those holiday days: for example, a holiday pick up time may be ten a.m., with return at 10 p.m.  Make sure to carefully review a calendar to make sure that you don’t leave out important days such as Halloween, or even the first day of school each year. The more you include in your details, the easier it will be to handle shared custody.

If you need assistance in mediating a challenging family law issue, the compassionate attorneys at Erik B. Jensen & Associates can help. Call us today to learn more.