Dealing With Divorce: Holiday Visitation Schedules

Dealing With Divorce: Holiday Visitation Schedules

by Oct 21, 2020Divorce

Halloween is just over a week away, and with it the beginning of what will probably be one of the more difficult holiday seasons in American history. Between the ongoing pandemic, slumping economy, and continued threat of wildfires here in California, most families have plenty on their plate to worry about.

Sadly, adding one last wrinkle to the mix for those who are recently divorced or separated, is the dreaded holiday visitation schedule. If you and your ex haven’t already worked out who gets the kids for which holidays, negotiating the details can quickly get acrimonious.

Here are a few suggestions on how to divide the holidays that may help you and your child’s other parent avoid an argument.

How To Share Holiday Time

The following are some of the most common ways divorced parents divide and share the holidays each year:

1) Alternate Holidays Every Other Year
In this approach, one of you gets certain holidays in even years, and in odd years you swap. While simple and effective, it does mean that each of you only gets certain holidays with your children every other year.

2) Spilt The Holiday In Half
In this scenario, you and your ex divide each holiday in half. One parent takes morning to midday, the other gets the afternoon and evening. It requires more coordination between you and your ex, but the benefit is that both parents never miss a holiday.

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3) Celebrate Twice
A perennial favorite of many young children. Celebrating each holiday twice means that either you or your ex will celebrate a given holiday on a day other than that holiday’s actual date. For example, if your ex has the kids on Christmas day, you could celebrate Christmas on the 26th.

4) Agree To Fixed Holidays
Maybe you don’t care that much about Christmas, but love Thanksgiving. Or your ex goes all-out for Halloeen and you’d rather have the kids on New Year’s anyways. With a fixed holiday schedule, you and your ex pick and choose to have the children for the same holidays every year.

Special Considerations

Outside of the fall/winter holiday season, there are several types of holidays that you’ll need to discuss with your ex and make decisions about. For example:

  • Birthdays (yours and your children’s)
  • Mother’s/Father’s Day
  • Federal holidays and three-day weekends
  • Religious holidays

While some of these should be fairly easy to negotiate, others may require some give and take with your ex to make things work.

Letting Your Lawyer Negotiate For You

If your relationship with your ex is not good, trying to negotiate with him or her directly may not be the best course of action. In these situations, letting your divorce attorney negotiate on your behalf may be the easiest solution.

At Vonder Haar Law, we have years of experience helping parents negotiate custody and visitation schedules with their former partners and spouses. To learn about how we can help you, please contact our office today.


At Vonder Haar Law Offices, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 529-3200.

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