After a divorce, the holidays can be rough, especially when you and your ex-spouse share children. How families split holidays can be a central point of contention when determining the distribution of parenting time. While verbal agreements can work in some situations, it may be best to pursue a legally binding holiday and vacation schedule. Holiday plans will typically take priority over regular child custody and visitation agreements, helping to resolve potential disputes before they occur. How you divide family time can be influenced by many factors and can often differ depending on the holiday.
Methods for determining child custody and visitation holiday schedules include:
- Alternating holidays: One of the more common arrangements for shorter holidays or holiday weekends is to alternate custody every year. For example, one parent will have custody on even years with custody being awarded to the other parent for odd years. This can benefit children as they are able to spend a full holiday with each parent.
- Celebrating on different days: Another option for families is to celebrate a holiday twice, once on the actual holiday and then again on another predetermined day. There is no rule that says a family who agrees to celebrate on a different day is not free to do so. Children may also enjoy the idea of having two holidays.
- Selecting individual days: Alternating holidays each year may not be the best solution for all holidays. For example, it is common for the child to spend each mother’s day and father’s day with the corresponding parent. Additionally, some holidays are not important to everyone. If thanksgiving has never been an important holiday on your side of the family, but the Fourth of July is, consider working out arrangements based on preference.
- Splitting the holiday: While it may not be possible for single day celebrations, splitting an individual break in two can be a good option for vacations such as Christmas break. One parent can have the children for the first week while the other will have custody beginning on the second week. When splitting holidays, be sure to clearly define how and when the transition is to happen.
In the event that you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on one or more issues, the dispute can be taken into the courtroom. In Ohio, a judge will typically follow the guideline of alternating holidays each year while taking into account what is in the best interest of the child. If you and your family are seeking to create or modify a holiday schedule, it may be time to get a knowledgeable attorney involved.
Legal Help for Child Custody Matters
The holidays can be stressful enough without arguments about who gets the children and when. Remember, unless you have an arrangement in writing, a court may not have the power to enforce agreements. If you need help creating an official holiday schedule or want to revisit an existing agreement, call Gounaris Abboud, LPA and get the legal help that you need. Our Dayton family law attorneys understand what you are going through and can help your family to reach its goals.
Call (937) 660-8429 or request a no-obligation case evaluation with our attorneys today.