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Making Holiday Visitation Work for Everyone


When it comes to divorce, one of the most contentious issues many couples wrangle with is visitation; and nothing is touchier than figuring out how kids will spend the holidays.  To be sure, both parents have ample reason to feel strongly about having the children spend the holidays with them.  So how in the world can they come up with a schedule that works for all parties?  Take a breath: and proceed with caution.

What’s Considered a Holiday? 

The obvious holidays that raise blood pressure are Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and Halloween.  But parents need to remember that there are plenty of school breaks that need to be considered, such as President’s Day, Memorial Day, and Spring Break.  And of course, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day are biggies, not to mention the birthdays of the kids, parents, stepparents, and others.  With so many celebrations to enjoy, isn’t there a way to share them equitably without causing too much angst?

Scenarios to Consider 

Florida courts require couples to construct a parenting plan to address all sorts of issues related to shared children, one of which is the holiday custody plan.  The courts even provide a worksheet to assist in identifying school breaks and holidays and scheduling the whereabouts of the kids for each. Depending on location and circumstances, parents may wish to consider a number of options for these important times:

  • Split up important days by hour. The benefit of this type of plan is that both parents get to enjoy milestones with the kids; while one parent celebrates with a special breakfast, the other has a special family dinner that evening.
  • When parents don’t live close enough for the previous option to work, it makes more sense to split up the holidays. While Mom may get the kids for Christmas, Dad gets them for Easter.  On odd years, the kids’ birthdays are spent with one parent; on even years with the other.  Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days are spent with Mom and Dad, respectively.

Certainly, the majority of couples discover that whatever scheduling plan they come up with, things have to be adjusted here and there over time.  Chicken Pox, an out-of-town conference, or other holiday activities are apt to cause a bump in the road once in a while.  Parents who are able and willing to adjust make things easier for the kids, as well as for the other parent.

What if the Holiday Schedule is Out of Sync with the Regular Schedule? 

Of course, it’s frustrating when visitation is negatively impacted by the holiday schedule, but parents should understand that the holiday schedule trumps everything else. So the advice is, grin and bear it this year!

Wishing you Happy Holidays 

At WiseLieberman, PLLC, we work hard on behalf of our clients.  Whatever your divorce issues are, we have your back.  Contact our Boca Raton divorce lawyers today to schedule a confidential consultation.  Happy Holidays!

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