How to Divide Time with Children Over the Holidays

While the holidays are a time of joy for most families, divorced parents may experience stress during the holiday season in regards to how to share time spent with a child. If you are divorced and share custody of your child with your ex-spouse, here are some tips for splitting time over the holidays:

Put a Plan in Place in Advance

One way to create more stress and potential disagreements is to wait until the last minute to determine how time with children will be divided between you and your ex. When you wait until the last minute to make plans, each parent may have made the mistake of assuming that they would have the child, resulting in a conflict. This can also be confusing to a child, who may then feel as though they have to choose which parent to spend the time with.

Talk to your ex-spouse in advance and determine what a fair plan of action is. Make sure both of you commit to following the plan. Remember, it is about the kids, not about you.

Split the Day Each Holiday

One way that many divorced parents choose to divide time over the holidays is to split each holiday in half. For example, one parent may get time with the child Christmas morning, and the other parent gets time with the child Christmas afternoon and evening. This is a great arrangement for parents who live near each other.

Share the Holiday and Spend it Together

Another way to make holidays work for everyone is to spend the holiday together. This is especially helpful for young children, and is appropriate when parents are on good terms and have agreed to put differences aside for the sake of the children.

Divide Holidays Equally

Another way to share the holidays is simply to divide them equally, with one parent getting the child for all of Christmas, the other parent for the child's birthday, the other for New Year's, the other for Thanksgiving, etc. This arrangement is more appropriate when parents have a hard time getting along, or when parents do not live near one another, making transportation (and spending holidays together or splitting time on a single day) more difficult.

Work with an Attorney and Get a Court Order

When holidays cannot be divided fairly or there is disagreement or confusion about how much time each parent gets, the best remedy may be heading to the court room and getting a court order about how holidays are to be split. While working things out outside of court is always ideal, sometimes, an out of court agreement is not possible.

At the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins, our experienced Michigan divorce and child custody attorneys can help you understand child custody arrangements and parenting time, and will effectively represent you in a courtroom or in mediation. To learn more about your rights, contact our law offices today at 248-646-7980.