Holiday Schedules - the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Parenting time becomes especially fraught with discord at the holidays. Each parent wants to have the children for their extended family's holiday traditions during the earliest phases of litigation, and later, once new relationships are forged, parents want holiday schedules to mesh with those of their new significant other.

As a result, those times which should be festive become more stressful than usual. For many years, courts have struggled to maintain some semblance of equity; in my experience, these efforts are not always successful or completely balanced. Imbalances can arise due to many factors - work schedules, children's activity schedules, travel difficulties, parents living a great distance apart, extended family events being chief among them. Unfortunately, there are so many of these factors which arise, court efforts to come up with standardization routines for holiday visitation in child custody cases seldom address them all.

We generally find that the best approach involves a great deal of cooperation between the parties and a consideration of the needs of the other party, mainly because it can create a successful environment for later compromise by the other party. The questions a litigant should ask are simple:

-How much time is really going to be needed?

-Is the proposed holiday schedule going to be difficult for the child's enjoyment of the holiday (ie is the child being awakened too early and kept out too late? Is the child getting to maximize his or her time at the holiday event?)?

-Does the proposed holiday schedule genuinely negatively impact the child's relationship with important members of your extended family?

-Do your needs to have a child close run the risk of negatively impacting the child's relationship with the other parent;s family, or are your needs depriving the child of a special family or travel experience?

A dispassionate review of those factors can help a person make a decision which is far more in line with the interests of the child, and an experience attorney can help you arrive at that point.

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