As we approach the height of the holiday season this year, it's an appropriate time for Birmingham child custody lawyers to discuss child visitation arrangements.
Of course, this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But if you're trying to divvy up time with the kids between you and your ex, it can result in a great deal of stress and aggravation.
Having an agreeable visitation plan in place prior to the holidays can save you headaches and heartaches.
What you must keep in mind is that the most important thing is for your child to have wonderful memories of their youthful holidays and traditions. Often, it's not just you and your ex who are involved – it's the grandparents, aunts, uncles and other extended family members who hope to spend time with the children during the festivities. That is going to mean some level of compromise on both ends.
Where there is a great deal of parental conflict, it's often the courts – rather than the parents – that will make the final decision. The preferable option would be for both parents to mutually come to an agreement. If you have a tough time communicating civilly with your ex, an attorney can be your go-between, working out all the details so your contact will be limited.
When it comes to holidays, there are a number of arrangements that have been reached by our clients, even when they're feuding with their former spouses. It all comes down to which arrangement makes the most sense for you.
One option is to alternate the holidays on an annual basis. So for example, dad will get the kids for the holidays on odd-numbered years, while mom gets them on even-numbered years. Similar to this, spouses may opt for them to alternate holidays, as well as years. So one year, dad gets them for Thanksgiving and their birthday, while mom gets them for Christmas or Hanukkah. The following year, it would alternate. The benefit of doing it this way is that no one parent or side of the family gets a monopoly on a certain holiday, and children can share memories from both families each year.
Some former couples though find this doesn't work for them because they don't want to miss an entire Christmas or Thanksgiving. So another alternative is to split the hours of each holiday. So for example, one parent would have the kids for the first part of the day, while the other parent gets them during the second half. This can be a good way for parents to equally split the time so each has a chance to share time with the kids on a special or sacred day.
Others find that this approach can be hectic and stressful and lead to disagreements. So another way you could approach it – especially if the day itself is not important – is to arrange for one parent to celebrate the holiday the day or weekend just before or after. Of course, this can be tough if you're trying to coordinate many other family members, but it's a viable option for some.
And then there is always the unconventional approach of two former spouses choosing to celebrate the holiday together. This isn't for everyone, and we certainly understand that bad feelings can linger after a particularly ugly split, so this certainly isn't the norm.
Whatever arrangement you have in mind, coming to agreement well in advance can leave your holidays free of the need to hammer out a child-custody agreement. Talk about a welcome blessing!
If you are dealing with child custody Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
Putting Children First: The Best Gift Divorce Parents Can Give Their Children This Holiday Season, Nov. 20, 2012, By Randi L. Rubin, The Huffington Post