Planning Ahead Prevents Holiday Custody and Visitation Disputes


Parents who have gone through a Pasadena divorce know that planning for the holiday season can be challenging. Custody and visitation agreements that seem perfectly logical during the rest of the year can be thrown for a loop by holiday parties, travel plans, and visiting relatives.

There are lots of different ways that parents handle holiday custody and visitation arrangements. The important thing is to discuss this issue with your ex as early as possible, in order to make planning easy for everyone. This is especially true if one or both of you will be traveling or having guests from out of state visit. Clear expectations prevent holiday stress, which is key to maintaining your sanity.

One option is to have the children rotate holidays so they spend Christmas with one parent and Thanksgiving with the other parent. The following year, the holidays are reversed.

If this doesn't work, you could try having one parent take the children to celebrate over Christmas and the other plan holiday celebrations for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Sometimes, if the non-custodial parent lives nearby, they will split care of the children so that each parent has the child for part of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For example, the father might have the children on the morning of the 24th. Then the mother might care for them during the evening and the morning of the 25th before returning them to spend Christmas night with their father. This gives the children the chance to spend part of each special day with both their mother and father.

If your custody agreement specifies how the holidays will be handled and your ex wants to make changes to the agreement, don't automatically turn down the request. Sometimes making reasonable compromises is in the best interest of everyone involved. Letting your ex come pick up the kids a day or two earlier so they can spend time with visiting grandparents or play with a favorite cousin shows that you're a mature adult who is committed to making sure the divorce doesn't interfere with your child's ability to maintain cherished family relationships. Your willingness to compromise may also inspire your ex to make similar concessions the next time you want to change the agreement for your own purposes.

How Can We Help?

If you're dealing with a custody and visitation issue that can't be resolved informally, please please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena divorce law firm is eager to help in any way possible.