How To Navigate The End Of The Year Holidays For Separated Parents

Thanksgiving marks the first of the last group of Holidays that arise each year as the end of the year draws closer for Hanukkah, Christmas Eve/Day, school recess and New Years Eve/Day. For parents that already have a parenting schedule the sharing of time with the children is usually resolved as long as everyone cooperates or follows the schedule in their Settlement Agreement or Court Order.

Parents who do not have an existing schedule or Court Order determining holiday time with the children and do not have a civil or communicative relationship with the other parent run the risk of having ruined holidays, stressed out children and family members, emotional upset for themselves and substantial legal fees for emergency court conferences.

It is still early enough to work out the schedule for the December Holidays and school recess. Decide if you will be splitting the school recess in half or whether one person will have it this year and the other person receives the President's week recess or next year's Christmas school recess.

If Christmas Eve is typically more celebrated by one side of the family than agree to let that parent have Christmas Eve and the other parent Christmas Day. If this is the first year that the parents are separated, maybe this year the children should wake up in the marital home on Christmas Day as they have in the past, but next year be with the other parent. Another factor, obviously, is the age of the children and whether they have a preference.

If you reach an agreement write it down and sign it or email it and have both parents agree via email to it so that subsequent arguments are less likely. Be sure to include the pick-up and drop-off time and which parent will be transporting the children and to what location, since you might be celebrating with a family member and not be at your home.

As with all parenting problems if they are approached in advance and with reasonableness everyone will be able to enjoy their holidays. If you need help negotiating the schedule or need a court order to fix the schedule please call my office so that I can help you with this before it is too late to go to court. Neither judges, lawyers or clients want to go to court on Christmas Eve, so these problems are best resolved in advance.