In case you haven’t yet started your countdown to Christmas, it is only 83 days away. The holiday season will be upon us before we know it. Unfortunately, for many families, the holidays are when many disputes regarding access to children arise. If the parties do not reach an agreement in advance of the holiday season, this time of year can be particularly difficult to navigate.
Generally speaking, parties often share access on an alternating week schedule. However, especially when the children are younger, this arrangement can be stressful to manage over the holidays. Understandably, often both parties want to spend time with the children on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
What are your family’s holiday traditions?
In order to avoid as much conflict as possible, the parties should discuss their family traditions and what holiday activities mean the most to each party. Every effort can then be made to accommodate these traditions and what is most important for each party as best as possible. One of the best solutions is often to share access for December 24 to 26. This allow both parties to have quality time with the children on these special days.
Parties must be aware that if they cannot reach an agreement, alternating access will continue. This means one party will have the children over Christmas and the other for New Years, alternating each year. Parties often find that these issues get easier as the children age as they understand that they can have two Christmas celebrations at different times.
Don’t leave discussions until December!
Discussions surrounding access over the holidays should commence well before the month of December. The weeks leading up to the holidays should be filled with joy and laughter and not time spent at Court arguing over access.