Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kids, Schedules and Holidays

What kind of holiday schedule works best for you?

Negotiating custody agreement sometimes involves lots of time and heartache. Once the difficult decisions are behind you (who has primary custody, where will the children live, what is the day to day schedule), a holiday and vacation schedule must be coordinated.

Since this is sometimes the last step in the process, it can get shortchanged. Some people slap any old holiday schedule together, thinking the other parent will be flexible when the time comes.

The Memorial Day Holiday weekend reminded me of some of the hurdles that separated families face. For example, if your holiday schedule simple says "alternate and rotate holidays" does that mean that you see your child only for Memorial Day or for the entire weekend?

Be ready for this step in custody negotiations by first listing the major holidays and how you usually like to celebrate. For example, if you go to the shore every Memorial Day Weekend, you may want to define your holiday as the entire weekend, from Friday through Monday evening, rather than just the Monday holiday.

Do you celebrate Christmas Eve dinner with your family or a big Christmas Day extravaganza? How does your family celebrate Passover? Do you always go out of town for Thanksgiving so that your Thanksgiving holiday must be defined as Wednesday after school through Sunday evening?

If you ask yourself these questions now, and give yourself time to mull it over, you will be ready to negotiate a holiday schedule that fits with your way of life. Additionally, once you map it out, you may realize that some holidays simply are not important to you -- and you can give them to your spouse, in exchange for something more important.

So start by listing ALL public holidays (even ones you normally do not celebrate, like three day weekend school holidays) and then list ALL religious holidays that are important to you. Do not forget your birthday, your child's birthday and Mother's Day and Father's Day. THen, jot down your wish list so you have a starting point.

Most people like to alternate and rotate by even and odd years. For example, in odd years, Mom gets Thanksgiving and Dad gets Christmas. Sketch it all out on a calendar so you can see how it falls throughout one year.

By being prepared, you can better your chances of getting a schedule that fits your life, and make the whole separation process a little less unpleasant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And be prepared for your ex to want a change if s/he remarries and the new spouse has different ideas.

My ex is jewish, so Christmas time is spent with me. Now that he has remarried another non-jew, he is asking that Christmas alternate each year.