If you are newly divorced, one learning curve to master is how to divvy up time with the kids over the winter holidays. Whether you celebrate Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa — or some combination thereof — you will want to have the kids with you to celebrate.
The problem is that their other parent likely will, too. So how can this be accomplished? There are several potential ways to manage holiday custody schedules, including the following options.
Have dual celebrations
This works when both parents live near enough to one another that the kids can split the day between mom’s and dad’s houses. But under no circumstances should parents force their kids to spend the bulk of the their holiday in transit between the two homes. If you live more than a few minutes apart, try one of the other options instead.
As long as the divorcing spouses can remain civil to one another, it’s fine to plan one big celebration just as you normally would do if a divorce had never occurred. But this could backfire if one spouse has lingering resentments or is still suffering emotionally from the split.
Split the date
Maybe Dad’s Jewish but Mom is Catholic. Dad can take the kids for a few nights of Hanukkah and let them go to Christmas Eve Mass and wake up on Christmas at Mom’s house. That can work out regardless of the parents’ religious backgrounds, i.e., Dad gets them Christmas Eve but they spend Christmas day with the maternal grandparents and their mother.
You take the kids this Christmas and your ex gets them next year. This one can be tough, so if you are the parent without the kids with you this year, make sure that you can check in with them via phone, Skype or text while they spend time in the other parent’s custody.
Also, make sure that your Boston family law attorney includes in the Order the holiday custody provisions that you and your children’s other parent negotiate.