As the holidays approach, many divorced and divorcing parents can get into disputes about the holiday schedule for the children. The holidays are an important time. Parents can feel a wide-range of emotions. And parties are often at odds about who is going to get the children when.
This is why during a divorce or custody case, it is important to have a specific holiday schedule put into play. The holiday schedule should account for all the holidays.
For example, does one parent get the children on Christmas Eve? Does the other get them on Christmas Day? What about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? For parties who celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanza, the same considerations need to be taken into account.
Is it the same schedule every year? Or, do the parents flip the holidays every other year? These are items that parties want to think long and hard about as they negotiate a custody schedule or ask the court to do it for them.
Parties often need to think about transportation issues during the holidays. This can particularly be the case where the parties live long distances apart. In these cases, who is doing the driving can be an important issue. In other cases where the children will need to fly, this needs to be negotiated as well, in addition to ensuring that there is clarity about who is purchasing the airline tickets.
Many divorcing or single parents, in a parent dispute, in the rush to get their divorce or family matter over can over-look the holidays. But the holidays can be a peak time for disputes for family law litigants.
Many end up back in court over the holidays on motions for contempt or family access motions due to disputes over the holidays. This is certainly now how most individuals will want to spend their holiday time. For this reason, it is critical that parties carefully think about the holidays and have as much of an air tight holiday schedule as possible.