How Child Custody is Handled Over the Holidays

Now that it’s mid-December, we are smack in the middle of the holiday season. This is the time of year for hot cocoa, snuggling up by the fireplace, holiday feasts, work Christmas parties, Hanukkah, Christmas lights, white elephant parties, and New Year’s celebrations.

For intact families, the holidays are usually a joy. The holidays mean coming together as a family and celebrating time-honored traditions. But when you’re a parent who is going through a divorce, the holidays can make you feel uneasy and stressed out more than usual.

Will you spend the holidays alone, without your kids? What’s going to happen to your annual traditions? In this article, we discuss how divorcing parents usually address child custody over the holidays.

When You Have a Friendly Divorce

If you are on good terms with your spouse and you expect to remain friends after the divorce, you may want to consider keeping up with the status quo. Meaning, if nobody is going out of town for the holidays, why not spend them together as you usually do? Just because you’re divorcing, it doesn’t mean you can’t spend the holidays as a family.

As time passes and new significant others enter the picture, it may be nice to invite them too so no one feels left out and so your children can see everyone getting along. This type of arrangement works especially well for divorcing couples who are on very good terms.

Splitting the Holidays Each Year

While it sounds nice to spend the holidays together so you don’t have to miss out on seeing your kids, that arrangement works for the minority of divorced couples. If you can’t see yourself exchanging gifts under the tree with your ex, that’s completely understandable. Another alternative is to split the holidays with your ex and rotate them each year.

For example, this year you may have your kids on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and next year you may have them on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and rotate them each year – that type of arrangement. Of course, you and your ex can tailor an arrangement that meets both of your preferences and schedules.

Do You Have a High-Conflict Family?

Some of our clients have what are called “high-conflict families,” especially when the couple’s divorce was litigated or highly contested. If you have a lot of conflict with your ex, our advice is to be very detailed about child custody and the holidays in your divorce agreement and stick to whatever is agreed upon in the divorce. As time passes, old wounds should heal and trust should gradually be restored until you can be more flexible about child custody with each other.

Next: Paying for College When Divorced in New York

To file for divorce and address child custody, contact the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC at (845) 605-4330.

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