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Time-Sharing Over the Holidays: Who Gets the Children on What Holidays?

Sharing custody is difficult, but many parents are able to come up with a schedule that works for them both. However, no matter how amicable a divorced couple is regarding the custody schedule, it always becomes a bit contentious over the holidays. Both parents want the child for Thanksgiving lunch; both want to see the look of joy on their child’s face on Christmas morning; and both want to ring in the New Year with their little ones. However, both parents cannot have the child for all of these moments every year.

Common Holiday Custody Arrangements

Some common custody holiday arrangements that our child custody attorneys come up with include:

  • Dividing the Break 50/50: One common arrangement is to divide the holiday break 50/50. In this scenario, Mom might get the child from the last day of school until December 24th at 6 pm, at which time, Dad will pick up the child and retain custody until they go back to school sometime during the first week of January.
  • Splitting the Holiday: This arrangement is a little unorthodox, but it can be done. In this instance, Dad may wake up with the child on any given holiday and celebrate until early afternoon (typically 3 or 4 pm). At this point, Mom will pick up the child and continue celebrations until early afternoon the following day. Once the holiday celebrations are over, the normal custody schedule will resume. If a couple opts for this arrangement, it is important to specify the unique holiday custody arrangement in the custody agreement, as the holiday can fall on a weekend or other regular non-custodial parenting time that may affect the non-custodial parent’s visitation.
  • Alternating the Holiday: This is another arrangement that is not commonly done, but one that proves to be effective, especially when neither parent can agree who gets the child during what times on which holidays. In these types of arrangements, Dad might get the child on Easter, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s of odd numbered years, while Mom would get them on Fourth of July, Halloween, and Christmas those years; on even numbered years, the holidays would switch.

Of course, the parents can always agree to agree, which basically means that, while drawing up the final custody agreement, they can opt to leave the holiday section blank and rely on good faith that the other will be amicable during the holiday season. For some parents, this type of arrangement works out nicely; for others, it can become a disaster as soon as that first holiday hits.

Consult a Boca Raton Child Custody Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, our goal is to make sure that each parent receives the amount of parenting time that each desires—especially during the holiday season. Our Boca Raton child custody attorneys specialize in divorce mediation, and can help each party negotiate a fair arrangement. If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about how you are going to spend the holidays with your child, give our family law firm a call at 561-391-9943 today.



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