The holiday season is fast approaching, and you may feel more unprepared than ever. This feeling mostly stems from the fact that you are going through a divorce, and your entire life seems off track. While you have done your best to present a sense of normalcy for your kids during this time, you know the holidays this year and in the future are going to look different for all of you.

One of the biggest concerns you have during your marriage dissolution process is likely child custody outcomes. If you and the other parent are able, you may find that discussing possible custody arrangements yourselves and coming up with a plan could help avoid contention. Of course, when it comes to holiday plans, coming to terms could prove tricky.

Make a list of special days

As you make your arrangements for holiday time, remember that not all special days are holidays and not all holidays are special days. For example, you may want to spend time with your kids on their birthdays or at a yearly event held in your North Carolina town, and while those days are not strictly holidays, they are still special to you and likely the other parent. Including those days and other special days could avoid scheduling conflict in the future.

Additionally, you may not have special celebrations for every holiday, like Memorial Day or Columbus Day, but if your children do not have school on those days, you may want to include them in your schedule. This way, you and the other parent are not blindsided by who will have the children when they are out of school.

Consider your scheduling options

Once you know the holidays and other special days you need to include, you can explore your scheduling options. Some common options include the following:

  • Making arrangements that involve each parent having the kids for the same holidays each year.
  • Alternating holidays each year, meaning you get the kids for Christmas one year and the other parent gets the kids for Christmas the next year.
  • Allowing the kids to spend time with both parents for each holiday, such as the kids spending time with you the night before and morning of a holiday and then spending time with the other parent the afternoon and evening for the same holiday.

Of course, other arrangements could work for your family dynamic as well. You may find that you and the other parent can continue to get along well enough for you to both spend time with the kids on the same day at the same time. It all depends on the unique nature of your case. Whatever you decide, it is important that you understand your legal rights and get your arrangements down in a legally binding document.