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Holiday issues with children and visitation plans

A New York divorced parent might find that the holiday season is stressful enough without worrying about a visitation schedule. However, the end of a marriage can lead to some unavoidable challenges as parenting time is shared. Children can deal with a lot of tension if their parents refuse to cooperate or comply with ordered schedules. Those families just starting to separate lives as divorce proceedings are initiated may not even have formal arrangements yet. However, creating a temporary plan at this point could help in establishing a pattern for the future.

Although custody and visitation matters are often decided by a judge, input from parents prior to a formal order can help in minimizing conflicts. Parents might negotiate these issues during mediation or through collaborative divorce methods, and in such cases, a judge would only need to formalize the order based on an agreement reached by both parties after ensuring that the arrangement is appropriate for a child's needs. Although there are some common solutions used by parents and courts, there is no exact plan required for designing a holiday visitation plan.

Many families use an alternating plan that places a child with one parent on a specific holiday during a specific year and with the other parent in the following year. Others work with a split time frame so that children can see both parents on each holiday. If the distance between parties is significant, however, the options may be more limited.

If a parent needs to move because of work, the ability to comply with an existing holiday visitation arrangement could change. In such a case, it might be possible to work out an alternative schedule if the parents are able to discuss the issue without a great deal of contention. If there are significant conflicts, however, it might be helpful to work with one's lawyer to negotiate a new parenting plan.

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