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Custody schedule during the holidays: plan ahead

Right about this time, some Fort Lauderdale residents might notice holiday decorations coming up at their nearby retailers and seasonal music playing over the store speakers. While it may seem a bit premature for some, it might just be the right strategy overall.

This same idea may very well work when it comes to child custody during the holidays. If you think it’s too early to plan out a holiday schedule, think again. Legal professionals are often swamped this time of year because clients are trying to make changes to their custody schedule in order to fit their holiday needs. The recommendation: plan ahead so the happy holiday season doesn’t turn into a season of sadness for the children involved.

If you have a regular schedule already, discuss it with the child’s other parent in order to see what adjustments need to be made for the holiday season. Doing this ahead of time gives both individuals time to work with an attorney in order to clear up any confusion. If the individuals don’t have a set schedule, this is the time to make one. Sit down and discuss the expectations you each have about holidays and what days are important. An arrangement including holidays being celebrated at different homes on alternate years may be an option, or the parents may be able to split the holiday breaks in a way that works for everyone.

No matter what each parent wants, it’s important to remember that this is about giving children quality time with their parents and not about winning or losing the custody fight. Being flexible and thinking about the future when setting a schedule will help keep the children’s needs at the center of the decision-making process.

Source: Huffington Post, “Holiday Parenting Schedule: Make a List and Check It Twice,” Nicole H Sodoma and Robin Goulet, Oct. 25, 2013

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