Sharing custody of a child can be difficult, as parents and the courts have to not only determine what is in the best interest of the child, but also must develop a way for parents to exercise their rights. The struggles of sharing custody are often exacerbated during the holidays, as parents frequently wish to share time and make memories with their children and are reluctant to relinquish any time. There are ways parents can avoid some of the heartaches of sharing custody during the holidays, though, and it is prudent for anyone trying to determine how to protect custody rights during important events to speak to a knowledgeable California child custody attorney to discuss their options.
Shared Custody of a Child During the Holidays
When parents who share custody of a child are finalizing their custody arrangements with the courts, it is advisable for them to request that the courts determine custody exchanges on important holidays as part of any decree. Otherwise, exchanges during holidays will comply with the standard schedule the court develops.
In some cases, certain holidays may be more important to one parent than the other. For example, if parents practice different religions, they may celebrate important holidays on different dates. In other instances, a holiday will be of equal importance to both parents. Depending on how each parent feels about the holiday in question, there are several different ways in which they can share custody. Regardless of which option parents choose, establishing a clear holiday schedule ahead of time can help ease their anxiety regarding spending time with their children on important days.
One option is for parents to exchange custody mid-day on important holidays; for example, if parents celebrate Christmas, one parent may have custody of the child on Christmas eve and morning, while the other will have custody of the child during Christmas afternoon and evening. Parents choosing this option often alternate by year, so that one parent will have the child during Christmas eve and morning during years that end in odd numbers, while the other will have custody during those times on years that end in even numbers.
In some instances, parents will not want to share custody on holidays that are important to them, and one parent will be granted custody of the child for the entire day. Usually, parents choosing this option will also alternate by years, with each parent having custody of the child on specified holidays every other year.
Another choice is to establish set holidays where one parent always has custody of a child. For example, if one parent celebrates Christmas and the other does not, the parent that celebrates Christmas may seek to have custody of the child on Christmas eve and day each year. Finally, parents may choose to simply adhere to their regular parenting schedule, and not to allow holidays to take priority over regular parenting time.
Speak to an Experienced California Family Law Attorney
Joint custody arrangements can lead to stress and discord, especially around the holidays, but there are measures parents can take to protect their rights and help them seek an agreement that allows them and their children to enjoy the holidays together. If you share custody of a child, it is prudent to speak to an attorney to discuss your rights during the holidays. California child custody attorney Ethan M. Weisinger can inform you of your options and help you develop a strategy to seek a favorable outcome. You can contact Mr. Weisinger at 925-258-2020 or via the online form to set up a meeting.
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