If you are in the middle of your
contested divorce and have not worked out a
schedule for your children for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the holiday school
recess, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day you are courting disaster.
Between now and the first two weeks in December I urge you to work out the
parenting schedule with your spouse, or if not married with the other parent, so that there
are no last minute calls to your attorneys, rushes to go to court and
incurring large legal fees to try and resolve what does not have to be
If you are fair then you will save money and both you and your children
will enjoy the holidays. A typical schedule is that one parent has Christmas
Eve and the other has Christmas Day. If this is the first year that the
parents are in different homes, then dependent upon the age of the children,
the parents may wish to consider allowing the children to wake up Christmas
morning in the marital residence with the agreement that the following
year they will wake up at the other parent's home on Christmas morning.
Most families will have Christmas Eve start in the morning and either
end later in the evening or sometimes at 11 AM on Christmas Day, if they
are staying overnight. The other parent then will have the remainder of
Christmas Day until 11AM on December 26th.
The rest of the school recess can be divided between the parents and if
they want they can provide a similar schedule for New Year's Eve and
New Year's Day.
Neither parent should approach the holidays with the belief that they are
entitled to both Christmas Eve and Day. Parents that are not reasonable
will appear that way to the judge when there is an urgent court application
made at the last minute. The holidays should be enjoyed by the children
and not remembered as their parents wage a custody battle a day or two
before Christmas Eve.