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Handling the Holidays When You Share Custody of Your Children

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When you share custody of your children with their other parent, you can quickly fall into a routine. School, sports, church and all of the kid’s other weekly activities are taken care of. They transition between your homes smoothly. But the upcoming holidays can throw off your well-honed routine. It is up to you and their other parent to work out the details so that you both have time with your children and everyone gets to enjoy the holidays. Unless you both prefer the courts to create the holiday custody schedule, you will need to decide how to handle this fun but often stressful time. Here are a few ways to create a holiday custody and visitation plan:

Rotate Holidays

For some families, it is very important to celebrate together on the actual holiday, such as Christmas morning. However, when your children need to celebrate Christmas with two families, this is not always possible. You and the other parent can trade off who has the children on a holiday every other year. For example, on the even-numbered years, you have your children for Thanksgiving and the other parent has them on Christmas day. On the odd-numbered years, your children go to their other parent’s home for Thanksgiving and you have Christmas day. When it is not your turn to celebrate Christmas together on the exact date, you and the children can create a Christmas Eve tradition.

Split Each Holiday

If you and the other parent live close to one another, it may be possible for the children to see both families on a holiday. For example, you might serve a big lunch on Thanksgiving and then your children will be off to their mother or father’s home for a second Thanksgiving dinner. The same can be said for Christmas. While one parent enjoys Christmas morning with the children, that afternoon the children could venture to their other parents home for a second round of gifts and a large dinner. You can also switch which parent has which part of the holiday every other year.

Spend Holidays Together

Just because you and your children’s other parent are not in a relationship that does not mean you cannot spend time together. If you have an amicable relationship, consider spending a holiday as one big family. For instance, you could bring the children over on Thanksgiving and stay for supper and football. However, if you and the other parent are not on great terms, this is not for you. Make sure you create a situation where the children can relax, have fun and not worry about their parents fighting.

Contact a Lawyer When Disagreement Arises

Many parents who were never married and some who divorce create custody arrangements themselves. Deciding what is best for your kids without court involvement works well for many parents. However, if you and the other parent disagree on major issues like holidays and you do not have a formal agreement, then it is time to contact a Leesburg child custody lawyer and return to court to establish a child custody and visitation arrangement that is best for your children.

The child custody attorneys of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC have experience in helping parents reach custody decisions through mediation and in court. Contact us in Leesburg today at 703-997-4982 to schedule a consultation.

Resource:

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title20/chapter6.1/section20-124.2/

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