For divorced parents, the holidays can be fraught with conflict over custodial arrangements for the children. Especially if this is the first holiday season since the divorce, it’s wise to plan ahead as much as possible to forestall chaos and upset feelings.
Ideally, your parenting plan will address custody arrangements clearly and concisely so that there are no misunderstandings. However, some couples balk at having their lives micro-managed by the courts. They can wind up with an ambiguously-worded judgment regarding which parent spends the holidays with the kids.
Some parents switch back and forth with each other using even- and odd-numbered years. However, that can mean that one parent spends the holidays away from the kids every other year. Considering how fast children grow up, this may be unacceptable to most parents.
When everyone lives nearby, it can be handled by one parent spending Christmas Eve or the first four nights of Hanukkah with the children, and the other parent getting them for Christmas day or the final four nights of Hanukkah.
When children are very young, it’s often in their best interest to keep them on as close a schedule as possible to their normal routine. This could mean that one parent agrees to travel to the children’s home for the celebration while the other parent leaves to give them some time together. This situation obviously will not work with all parents, however.
It’s important that divorced parents understand that the parenting plan that was devised when a child was 4 may no longer be viable when the child is 14. Children begin taking on responsibilities and commitments to teams and after-school jobs in the teen years, as well as having active social lives of their own.
Wise parents will consider the best interests of the children and seek a custody modification from the Florida family courts if necessary.
Source: Custody Xchange, “Holiday Custody Arrangements,” accessed Dec. 02, 2016