The Importance of Holiday Visitation
Child custody issues can be even more difficult during the holidays. Having a clear schedule for each parent can help make the holidays less frustrating for everyone, and keep the focus where it ought to be: your children.
First, parents should agree on a parenting plan for their children. If the parents cannot agree, a judge will rule in the best interests of the children. Communication with your co-parent is critical if you want your wishes known in terms of holiday visitation. However, having the schedule in a formal document filed with San Diego’s family court will make it legally binding.
Your parenting plan should include when and where holidays, vacations, birthdays, school breaks, and other special occasions will be spent with each parent. Family emergencies—like funerals, for example—should also be part of the parenting plan so there isn’t any confusion if these situations occur.
Communication Is Key
Communication between parents is critical during the holidays—be organized so the last-minute rushes and schedule mix-ups do not occur. These problems leave everyone, especially children, confused and upset. There are many organizational tools parents can use to plan for visitation during the holidays: Web-based calendars, planners, and email. Be willing to speak with your co-parent. If it helps, think of this as an exceptional season, where things that would normally be cause for alarm can be treated with good humor and patience. Your children are watching you, so show them what the holidays are really about.
Children Need Their Parents’ Attention During the Holidays
No matter what holiday you celebrate this winter season, spending quality time with your children is the best present you can give them. Don’t try to “out-gift” your co-parent or load your children down with “fun” holiday activities. Instead, why not…
1. Have dinner together as a family. You can cook at home, or go to a quiet restaurant where you can really communicate and connect with your child. Maybe celebrate the holiday with a dessert that you make together.
2. Let your child choose a holiday outing, and make the day all about him or her. Maybe visiting the zoo, or going ice-skating, or going shopping at a special store.
3. Play a game together or read a holiday book out loud. Perhaps decorate the house together. Make it a special occasion, and put the focus on your child.
We recommend slowing down, and just enjoying the time that you have. Instead of rushing around, make this a holiday your child will remember.
A family attorney can help you with any legal questions you have about your visitation rights. If you’re facing difficulty over holiday visitation with your child, give us a call here at Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C., at (858) 458-9500 for a free consultation.