Christmas is a holiday for everyone, adults and children alike, but there is no denying that it holds a special place in the hearts of younger kids. As such, parents often look forward to spending such a magical morning with the children.
Unfortunately, when you share custody after a divorce, you may not get that Christmas experience you have been dreaming of. It’s important to know where you stand and what you should expect.
Child custody looks different for everyone, so perhaps your situation will look nothing like the examples listed below. Even so, here are some of the most common ways that holiday custody gets divided up:
- Your ex gets custody of the children for half of the day, and you get them for the other half of the day. For instance, maybe they spend the night at your ex’s house, wake up there in the morning, and then come to your house for a lazy afternoon and Christmas dinner.
- One parent gets custody of the children for an entire week. Parents often trade weeks back and forth. Some set up a different schedule for the holidays, but not all. You may find out that Christmas week goes to your ex this year.
- One parent gets the entire holiday, but you have a Christmas celebration on a different day. For instance, maybe you have custody the day after Christmas, so you just put off your own celebration with the kids for 24 hours.
- You both spend the day together. If you and your ex have managed to stay friends, you may be able to pull this off, but it’s not for everyone. The children often enjoy it the most, though, as it cuts back on travel time and means they get to see both parents for the entire day.
Dealing with a custody situation can be difficult. If you do not get to see the children, does that change how you want to spend the holiday? It may be best to go spend time with other family members to make sure you do not just sit around thinking about the kids. That distraction can help.
Most importantly, though, you need to understand all of the options that you have. What does your custody arrangement already say about scheduling on the holidays? What do you and your ex want? Can you work together to find a solution that puts the children first?
As you sort your way through this complex situation, you need to know what parental rights you have and how to proceed.