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Child Custody and Holidays: Scheduling Arrangement Options

By Saunders Law Group on July 10, 2018


A child split between parentsHolidays are a wonderful time to spend with your child. Whether it’s a national holiday, a religious holiday, or a special occasion specific to your family, it’s ideal to spend that time with someone you care about. When it comes to divorced couples, you can imagine that such issues can be tricky. One spouse may want to have their child present on a specific holiday when the other spouse is supposed to be with the children.

Our Bartow, FL family law attorneys have dealt with numerous child custody issues. Creating a holiday schedule is one of the most common areas for dispute. Let’s take a moment right now to consider why disagreements may arise, and then discuss the various ways around heated confrontations and hurt feelings. Remember: what matters most is the best interests of your child.

Disputes Over Time and What Holidays Each Spouse Gets

Most disputes over holiday child custody involve travel arrangements or a perception that the other spouse is spending more quality time with the child/children. These feelings are understandable and not uncommon, and it’s important to discuss this with your spouse or through your legal representation so resentments do not build over time.

Thankfully there are different kinds of arrangements that can be made to help avoid these disputes from occurring, or at least make these disputes less of an issue.

A Fixed Holiday Schedule Every Year

Some former couples have a fixed holiday schedule from year to year. For example, one parent may have their children around for the 4th of July and a summer vacation, while the other parent has the children for Christmas and winter break.

These fixed schedules can vary, obviously, but the main goal is to divide time evenly and make sure the children are properly cared for the entire time.

An Alternating Holiday Schedule

Some couples decide to alternate holidays from year to year. In these situations, you may have your children around for the 4th of July on even-numbers years, while your spouse will have your children for the 4th of July on odd-numbered years. This can apply to all holidays throughout the year.

In these situations, alternating years allows children and parents to share quality time with one another on different holidays while maintaining equal time together.

Splitting a Holiday in Half

When viable, some parents may agree to split a holiday in half between one another, essentially co-parenting for a holiday. The 4th of July morning through the early afternoon may be spent with one parent, while the the later portion of the afternoon and the evening may be spent with another parent.

This arrangement may not be possible for all holidays, and clearly works best when parents live in the same city or general area.

Celebrating Certain Occasions Twice

Another option to consider is celebrating a holiday or special occasion twice in one week. For instance, one parent may have their child on their actual birthday date, while the other parent may celebrate their child’s birthday at an earlier or later date around that time.

With these kinds of arrangements, parents can alternate each year, making sure that each former spouse gets to spend the right amount of quality time with their child.

Learn More About Family Law Issues

For more information about your legal rights and options regarding child custody, be sure to contact the attorneys of Saunders Law Group. We are here to help you in your time of legal need.

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