Smart Parenting During and After Divorce: How to Figure Out Holiday Visitation
Figuring out, planning, and successfully executing holiday visitation is a matter of following some simple guidelines.
Identify which holidays are holidays. (Bastille Day is not a holiday if you and your family have never celebrated it before.)
Make a list of all the holidays and divide that list into two equal parts.
Assign one half of the list to one parent and one to the other.
Alternate those halves of the list from year to year.
Specify the pick-up and drop-off protocols and times for each of the holidays.
If you can get this far, you will avoid most of the last-minute problems that come up with holiday visitation.
Other Holiday Issues to Keep in Mind
There are some sneaky issues regarding holidays that might not be so easy to anticipate.
There are a few different ways of adding children's birthdays to the visitation calendar. Parents may choose to split the day. This is rarely practical, especially if one parent wants to have a party or the birthday is on a school day. A second option is to have whichever parent does not have the day spend one hour with the child just to wish him a happy birthday. This requires scheduling something extra into a busy day. The third and most practical option is for parents to have separate birthday celebrations with the child on separate days. This works best in highconflict situations and certainly is not objectionable to the child. In lowconflict situations, and especially with younger children, parents can be civilized enough to have just one party that both attend without ruining the experience for the child.
If you are having trouble with the co-parent, do not keep your child from having some phone contact with the co-parent on the child's birthday. This can give the child the impression that the other parent does not care about him.
Please keep in mind that you can only fool kids up to a point. You may try your best to persuade your child that having a relationship with the parent you hate is a waste of time, but children almost always figure out what you are doing, and when they do, it is you they will reject.
Quick Tip: It is best to figure out holiday visitation as early in the year as possible, but be as flexible as you can to make adjustments for special events, such as your co-parent's family coming in from out of town. If that time falls on your side of the schedule, try to be generous and think of the kids.
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