Dividing custody as part of your daily lived experience becomes second nature after a while. You remember that you need to pick the kids up from soccer one day a week and be ready for a custody exchange right before dinner time on Sunday night.
However, there are some days that will always disrupt the household schedule. Major national holidays, birthdays and similar special events tend to have a ripple effect on schedules and lives. It can take weeks to prepare for special events, and what happens on those special days can affect family dynamics and budgets for many more weeks afterward.
For those sharing custody of their children, holidays are among the biggest challenges. What are the three most straightforward solutions for handling the holidays?
It would not be fair for one parent to have the children on more holidays because they just happened to fall on that parent’s scheduled days one year. Your holiday plans are usually separate from your standard schedule.
Parents frequently decide to alternate holidays, both throughout the year and from year to year. You might have the children for Halloween and then on Christmas, while your ex gets to celebrate Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day with the children. Next year, you will have the children on the other holidays.
Splitting the holidays
Some parents choose to divide the holidays by splitting the day in half. Your children might spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with you and then spend the afternoon evening and the next day with your ex. Such arrangements allow for everyone to get to celebrate each holiday with the children, but they can increase stress on the family members as a custody exchange will have to take place in the middle of holiday celebrations.
Sharing the holidays
In amicable divorces where parents have a good dynamic with each other, it may be possible for them to continue getting together with each other on the holidays. Children are often happiest when they can see everyone together at once. Sharing the holidays is only a viable solution if you know you can avoid conflict, as nothing will ruin the holidays faster than parents engaged in a cold war at the dinner table.
Considering your relationship and your children’s needs can help you decide the best means of sharing the holidays when you have to share custody of your children.