The holiday season is upon us. While for some, that means joy and excitement, for others – like recently separated or divorced couples – it can bring unwanted stress and anxiety. Who gets the kids on holidays? This, no doubt, is a question that may spark tensions even in the most harmonious families.
To avoid some of that uneasiness, you must determine your and your family’s holiday schedule well before the December rush. If you do not yet know where your children will spend Christmas this year, now is the time to figure it out.
Canadian courts focus on one thing when deciding child custody – the best interests of the little ones. When planning the festive season, you should follow the same principle. Ensure your children’s needs come first!
Follow the divorce agreement or divorce certificate
So, how can you know who gets the kids on holiday? You must first take a look at your divorce agreement or divorce certificate. Usually, it includes a parenting schedule. However, even if you have sole custody, it doesn’t mean your bundle of joy will spend every holiday with you. Visitation rights include Christmas, New Year’s, and other special celebrations.
Keep in mind that holiday schedules are very detailed. They should include the exact time and place when children move from one parent to another; this way, you and your ex can avoid potential misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts.
While it may seem tricky to plan everything, this will make the holiday period much easier for the child. There is no need to spoil the festive atmosphere!
Scheduling holidays with the help of the court
Parents should try to agree on a timetable on their own or with the help of lawyers. If that isn’t possible, the next step is to go to court.
The institution can resolve disputes and uncertainties about the future schedule. It can also help if the existing holiday schedule no longer satisfies either party or the child. This sometimes happens as children get older and their views and interests change.
Still, the court’s decision may differ from what you would have wanted. So put in the effort to come up with a compromise; this will save you from a lot stress!
What does the court consider?
Typically, the court tries to ensure that children spend equal time with both parents during the holidays. Generally, they like to create holiday parenting schedules on a rotating basis. This means that little ones will spend time with their parents according to even and odd numbers.
For example, in even-numbered years, the children will be with one parent on Christmas Eve and morning. In odd-numbered years – the children will be with the other parent.
When making the decision, the court also considers and respects family traditions.
Travelling with children as separated parents
There’s something magical about witnessing a shared celebration somewhere else on the globe. That is why many families decide to travel during the holiday season. Since you get vacation days anyway, you might as well use them to adventure worldwide.
You can do so if you plan to travel with your children during the holidays. Just remember it shouldn’t interfere with the other parent’s time with the little ones. If it does, you should have the other parent’s consent. Otherwise, you have no legal right to do it.
Remain calm and level-headed
Planning your first holiday season as separated or divorced parents can be challenging. Although emotions and tensions can run high, remember to focus on your children and their needs.
If you and your ex-spouse have trouble reaching an agreement, it is best to consult a lawyer. Our team at Mikhailitchenko Law Office can help you navigate this sensitive subject.
Contact us here for more information.