Maintaining Your Fathers’ Rights Through the Holiday Season

  • Approximately one in every six custodial parents is a father.
  • About 26.6 percent of children live with a custodial parent.
  • 54.7 percent of custodial parents have only one child.

Each state tends to have its own recommendations when it comes to a holiday schedule for divorced parents, but a typical arrangement has parents rotating holidays. If your divorce is amicable, you may want to come up with a schedule between the two of you. In any case, having a calendar or schedule for the year can help your child adjust to holidays without both parents.

If you and your soon-to-be ex are struggling to come up with a schedule, we have some ideas for you. As Orlando family law attorneys, we know that holidays can be difficult for families dealing with divorce. We also know that fathers sometimes get the raw end of the deal when it comes to custody. Here are some ways that parents we have worked with have divided their time.

1. Alternate Holidays

One of the most typical ways, as we have already mentioned, is to rotate holidays. For example, you may have every other holiday with your child this year, while your ex has the ones that are left. You can switch next year. When you choose to use this method, you won’t miss a major holiday with your child for more than a single year in a row.

Depending on work schedules, some parents choose to have their child for each holiday this year, and then for no holidays next year. This can be extreme, but if it works, it works. Just remember that your feelings about this arrangement may change when the first holiday pops up.

2. Split Holidays

If there are holidays that are special in your family, you may want to split the day. For example, you may spend the morning of Christmas with your child and then their other parent may pick them up for the afternoon. You may choose to do this for every holiday or just the ones that have a major place in your family’s traditions.

Keep in mind that this arrangement can be difficult for parents who live far apart. Reconsider if your child is going to spend hours traveling to get to the other parent’s home. There is probably a better arrangement to be made.

3. Have Two Holidays

Another idea is to have a holiday twice. For example, you and your child may celebrate Easter the weekend before the actual holiday if they will be going to spend time with your ex on the day of.

You can do this for almost any holiday. It’s a good way to create new traditions with your child that they can carry with them into adulthood.

4. Have Fixed Holidays

You can also schedule a fixed holiday with your child. Your ex can have other holidays. This can work if you think one holiday is more important than the one your spouse would prefer.

For example, if Halloween is something you really enjoy but could take or leave Christmas and your spouse feels the opposite, you may want to have a fixed arrangement.

5. Share Birthdays (If Possible)

Birthdays can be difficult to fit into a schedule. Your child’s birthday can be spent with both parents together — assuming you can get along — or with each parent at different times of the day.

You may also just decide to alternate birthday years. You should let your child spend time with the birthday parent if they choose to do so.

6. Schedule for 3-Day Weekends

If you have a school-aged child, don’t forget to consider the holidays that mean a three-day weekend for your little one. You will want to take a close look at how these three-day holidays will effect your own work schedule as you are creating the holiday schedule for your child.

You may want to alternate the weekends or split them. You may also want to give the holiday to the parent who had the child for the whole weekend.

What Holidays Do You Include?

You’ll of course think of the major holidays, but there may be more that you forget about. You don’t want to wake up to realize it’s a holiday and need to make arrangements for your child in accordance with your visitation decree.

When you are creating a schedule for the holidays, sit down with a typical calendar along with your child’s school calendar. This will give you an idea of what days they may have off during the upcoming school year. You’ll also want to sit down with your work calendar or your own school calendar. All of these things will give you a pretty clear picture of what you’ll need to divide.

One tip: If you can’t get the time off work but your ex can, don’t greedily take the holiday only to put your child into daycare or with a babysitter simply because it’s “your holiday.” This isn’t fair to anyone involved and can quickly turn an amicable meeting on its head. Never make a decision with the goal of hurting your ex.

Our Orlando Family Law Attorneys are Here for You

If you and your spouse are having difficulty coming up with a custody arrangement or a holiday visitation schedule, we can help. Our Orlando family law attorneys have worked with divorcing couples like you and have helped mediate mutually acceptable agreements.

Call now to schedule your free consultation and discover more about how we can assist you.

Andrew Nickolaou

Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew also handles record expungements and sealings. If you have questions about this article, contact Andrew today by clicking here.