There are a number of decisions that parents need to make when it comes to separation or divorce. One such decision is the holiday visitation schedule. This can be a contentious topic, even for ex-partners who're on good speaking terms. To ease the tension and come up with the best schedule for all, consider the three questions below.
Do You and Your Ex-Partner Share Religious Beliefs?
According to one study, 31% of married Americans have interfaith relationships. Religious beliefs can be an important consideration when determining a fair and balanced holiday visitation schedule.
If you're Christian, for example, but your ex-partner is Jewish, holiday visitation may be as simple as splitting your child's visitation between the two sets of religious holidays celebrated throughout the year. While certain holidays may overlap on occasion, this option may offer the best for your child. If one partner is religious, however, and one isn't, it may be a bit more difficult to split the holidays as many holidays, even religious ones, are celebrated secularly. In these cases, consider splitting the holiday into two days (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, for example) and alternating every year.
Are You or Your Ex-Spouse Required to Work Holidays?
You and your ex-partner's work schedule will play a significant role in determining holiday custody, just as it did when determining the regular custody schedule.
If, for example, your ex-partner works retail jobs seasonally, they likely won't get holidays off from work. Seasonal jobs, such as the one mentioned above, can make creating the holiday schedule easier, but not all jobs that require working holidays will have you or your ex working the same holidays each year. Nurses, for example, may work Christmas one year but have it off the next year. Work arrangements such as these will require cooperation and flexibility on your part and your ex's to ensure that your child isn't caught in the middle of a holiday visitation fight.
Are You and Your Ex Amicable Enough to Celebrate Together?
While amicable separations aren't always possible, celebrating the holidays together can be a great way for you and your ex to keep communications regarding your child strong and ensure your child's happiness.
If the wound left from separation is still fresh, rushing into shared holidays isn't necessary, but it's something to consider for the future. If you and your ex find that holidays together can be drama free, your child will likely benefit from the stability that shared holidays offer and it will show your child that his parents are still on the same page regarding his care. Even if shared holidays are the plan, however, it's a good idea to have a visitation schedule in place just in case the relationship becomes sour. This will limit any arguments surrounding holidays.
If you're still having trouble creating a favorable holiday visitation schedule for both sides, even after considering the three questions above, it may be time to consult with a family law attorney like those at Joanna Cobleigh Esq. Attorneys can provide you with an unbiased opinion and ensure that both parties are agreeable to the arrangement.