If you were to identify the primary reason why Rocklin residents so look forward to the holiday season, you are likely to hear that most appreciate the added time to spend with their families. As a parent working your way through a divorce, this may sound disheartening, given that you must inevitably split your time with your kids between you and your ex-spouse.
This may seem like the perfect recipe for contention. Because of this, the courts will typically mandate that your custodial time during the holidays be well-defined in order to avoid any tension.
Managing custodial time
The state does not have an official holiday custody schedule that divorced parents must follow. Rather, you and your ex-spouse should come up with your own plan to divide your parenting time during the holidays. If you cannot agree on a schedule, however, the court may choose to impose one on you.
The only legal obligation related to holiday custody time is that it be fair and equitable. That said, court officials may make recommendations to help you and your ex-spouse in the process. For example, Orange County has released parenting schedule suggestions online that specifically deal with custody during the year-end holiday season, encompassing Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. They present several options:
- One of you having the kids for the entirety of the holiday on even years, with other having custody on odd years
- Splitting activity time equally between both households (e.g. the kids with you Christmas morning, your ex-spouse having them Christmas night)
- One of you having the weekend immediately before or after a holiday specifically designated for custody
You can also opt to remain on your regular custody schedule and simply divide up time between you and your ex-spouse as the need arises. This, of course, requires that both of you remain flexible. The holidays can be a time when unexpected events arise quickly. Being open to working with your ex-spouse to accommodate his or her schedule can help ensure a relatively stress-free holiday season.