One of the hardest aspects of making custody arrangements for your child after a divorce is deciding where the child will spend holidays. Often, both parents want to see the child on important days like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween, so giving up your child on any of these days is sure to be difficult. Still, these are plans that need to be made. Here is a look at two holiday-sharing plans that seem to work well for parents who are sharing custody.
1. Each Parent Chooses Holidays
In this type of arrangement, each parent chooses a list of holidays, and then they have the child for those holidays every year. This type of plan works well if you and your ex have different opinions as to which holidays are most important. For example, if your ex celebrates Hanukkah and you celebrate Christmas, then maybe you can always have the child on Christmas, and they can always have the child on Hanukkah. It also encourages consistency for the child. They can more easily develop certain family traditions if they spend a certain holiday with the same side of the family every year.
If this plan sounds like it will work for you, start by making a list of holidays that apply in your situation. Then, start taking turns choosing holidays. You pick one, and then your ex picks one.
2. You Alternate Holidays Each Year
Another type of arrangement involves trading off who has the child for each holiday every year. For example, you would have the child on Christmas during years 1, 3, and 5. Your ex would have the child on years 2, 4, and 6. You'd make a similar plan for each of the other holidays.
This plan works if both of you have really strong traditions you really want your child to be a part of on various holidays. The upside is that your child will not grow up thinking "I never got to spend Christmas with the other parent." The downside is that it can be tough for kids to always be somewhere different on the holidays.
Every holiday sharing plan is different, and you have a lot of leeway to design an arrangement that works for both of you. Talk to your child custody lawyer to learn more. They can help you devise a legal agreement that ensures your child's time is fairly split between the two of you.