The thought of an empty house on Christmas morning can be devastating for a newly divorced Florida parent. Whether your most treasured holiday is Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Halloween or St. Patrick's Day, the joy of partaking in family traditions on this day could be the highlight of your year, so it can be difficult to let go of your kids. Nevertheless, while negotiating a workable parenting plan with your ex, you'll need to decide how to share these special days.
Here are a few ways that Florida parents may want to share holiday time:
Celebrate the same holiday on different days: Although the "official" day of Christmas is Dec. 25, perhaps your kids will celebrate "Dad Christmas" on Dec. 24 and "Mom Christmas" on Dec. 25. Scheduling a holiday twice like this is an excellent way for parents to share and celebrate holiday time with their kids equally.
Divide the day 50-50: When parents live close to one another, they may want to divide certain holidays in half. Perhaps the children will spend Thanksgiving morning with one parent and Thanksgiving afternoon with the other.
Alternate holidays each year: Many parents will create an alternating holiday schedule in which the children spend Christmas with Parent A and Thanksgiving with Parent B. The following year, the entire schedule flips. It's Christmas with Parent B and Thanksgiving with Parent A, and so on.
Assign holidays to each parent: Another great solution - especially when the parents have a favorite holiday - is to create a fixed holiday schedule. Perhaps the children will spend Ramadan with dad in Colorado and Hanukkah with mom in Florida, and this will remain the fixed holiday schedule.
When creating holiday schedules, parents will usually select one or a combination of the above strategies - or come up with another creative solution. During the process of negotiating holiday time, parents should remember to include special holidays like birthdays, three-day weekends, Mother's and Father's Day, and winter, summer and spring vacations.
Ultimately, the more parents understand about their child custody rights and options under Florida law, the better chances they will have of arriving at a fair, workable agreement regarding these and other important child custody concerns.