Who Gets Child Custody During Holidays?

October 11, 2017 — by John Conger
Tags: Child Custody Family Law

A mother and her childSpending time with your kids is important for their future. It's crucial to provide a nurturing, loving environment that helps them grow up healthy and happy. Following a divorce, couples can run into issues with who gets to be with the children and when. This can be contentious enough with custody from week to week, but it can be especially contentious when it comes to parents being with their children on certain days or times of year, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, winter holidays (Christmas and Hanukkah), the New Year, spring break, the Fourth of July, and so forth.

The lawyers of Shore, McKinley & Conger LLP know how difficult these child custody and visitation issues can be. They've helped many divorced couples in the greater Sacramento area understand their legal rights in these kinds of cases. Let's explore holiday visitation and custody in more detail below.

Disputes Over Holidays, Custody, and Visitation

Holiday disputes between co-parents can be especially difficult when it comes to cultural holidays and/or religious observances. Dividing time equally between both parents is important for a child.

Disputes tend to arise when a parent is not seeing their child or children enough, or when the children spend the majority of holidays with one parent rather than another. In some cases, there may also be disputes about religious holidays and whether or not a child ought to observe certain religious practices. These issues can be compounded if the spouses are of different faiths and/or have disagreements about how to raise their children in a certain sect/denomination of a religious faith.

These examples of disputes can lead to hurt feelings, resentment, and other issues that can impact the happiness of the children when with their parents.

Putting the Needs of Your Child First

As a parent, it's important that the needs of a child be put first. That means really considering what is in their best interests regarding holidays, and how to make any time spent with your child as special and meaningful as possible. This can be difficult, but developing a holiday schedule with your former spouse can help improve the well-being of your child for years to come. A visitation schedule also makes it easier to co-parent, and can prevent many arguments over quality time and fairness.

Creating a Holiday Schedule for Your Children's Needs

A holiday schedule is developed outside of the normal joint custody schedule. Essentially, you and your former spouse go through the calendar year and cite specific holidays that you would like to spend with your child. This can change from year to year, but the idea is to create an even or fair distribution of time spent with your child during holidays.

How Family Attorneys Can Help with These Disputes

Having a family attorney or mediator present while discussing holiday visitation and custody can be essential for a smooth and fair process. Your attorney can help rank which holidays are of the highest priority (e.g., Thanksgiving visits tend to be more important than Fourth of July visits) and help divide high-priority holidays between spouses. Your attorney can help finalize this schedule for the year and ensure that it's adhered to.

Should the holiday schedule require adjustments, an attorney can help with this process to ensure the normal custody schedule and the holiday schedule are both best for the needs of the child/children.

Learn More About Child Custody Issues

For more information about your legal options when it comes to child custody, visitation rights, and other matters related to a divorce, be sure to contact our experienced family law attorneys today. The legal team at Shore, McKinley & Conger LLP are here to help you.