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Child Custody / January 04, 2019

Making Visitation Plans

One of the most complicated and emotional challenges that divorcing couples face centers around child visitation. Holiday arrangements, in particular, can be stressful, as each side wrangles to have children share in important traditions and experiences that are intended to create lasting memories. If creating a reasonable visitation schedule is a key objective in your divorce, having an attorney who understands your goals and who is willing to negotiate on your behalf could be essential to success.

Which Days are Important?

When designing a holiday visitation calendar, couples generally focus on the big holidays like Christmas or Hanukkah, Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving. It’s important to remember birthdays, too, of both children and their parents, and possibly grandparents or stepparents. Other days worth considering are holidays from school, such as spring break, Memorial Day, and Presidents Day. Of course, Mother’s and Father’s Day are both important occasions, as well. Designing a workable schedule for the year, with special instructions for holidays, is an important step in mitigating future conflicts.

Potential Plans

Families have successfully created holiday visitation plans that differ in their composition based on issues such as geographical factors, the age of the children, extended family, parent work schedules, and various other situational factors. Some ideas to consider include:

  • Splitting the holidays: A ten-day winter break could be broken into two 5-day holidays for kids with each parent when parents live relatively close to one another;
  • Alternating holidays: Dad may have kids on the holidays on even years, and Mom gets them on odds. Or Dad gets Thanksgiving one year while they go to Mom for Christmas, and the opposite is true the next year;
  • Assigning certain holidays as a fixed plan: Independence Day is reserved for Dad every year, whereas Halloween is always spent with Mom;
  • Doubling important holidays: Kids get two Christmas celebrations, two birthday celebrations, and so forth.

Any combination of these strategies may be appropriate for your circumstances. To be clear, when both parents are flexible as circumstances change, it helps everyone enjoy the holidays more. As children grow up, their commitments with school, clubs, and/or work may make things much more complex. Parents who understand the importance of keeping the kids front and center as they deliberate over making concessions to visitation requirements may find more satisfying results than those who demand that written schedules are rigorously adhered to regardless of unanticipated hiccups in plans.

When Cooperation is not Forthcoming

Under the best of circumstances, sharing children is a tricky business. When one parent is unwilling to work toward a win-win scenario, things get exponentially more difficult. Under either circumstance, the heavy hitting legal team at the office of Derek L. Hall, PC knows exactly how to proceed to achieve the best possible outcomes for you. Let’s discuss your situation today. Contact our Jackson office for a free, confidential consultation right away.

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