Designing A Custody Plan for Your Child Over the Holidays

As a family law firm in Miami, FL, we often see clients facing difficulties with child custody during the holidays. With the festive season coming up, this can be a difficult time of year for separated families. Any family attorney in Miami will tell you most divorced parents find it hard to make suitable arrangements for the holidays. After all, this is the season for families to get together and have fun. For divorced couples with children, making sure their little ones don’t miss out is challenging. Deciding which parent will have custody over the holidays is a minefield. This is especially the case if the court has awarded one parent a greater custody percentage.

Designing Your Agreement for Child Custody

The good news is there are several ways in which you can design the agreement over your children’s custody. However, parents must be willing to compromise. Before drawing up any custody agreement, you should know it’s unlikely you’ll spend every holiday with your children.

When drawing up your custody plan, you should consider the following:

  • Important holiday traditions, ceremonies, and rituals
  • Your children’s preferences
  • Any logistics that could affect your holiday plans
  • Your children’s best interests

Tried and Tested Custody Plans

There is no single perfect custody plan. However, there are several that are popular among separated and divorced parents. Here are three of the most common that we arrange in our role as family attorneys in Miami.

  1. Even/Odd Year

Each parent will be able to have the holiday period with his or her children on alternate years. As an example, Parent A will have custody for Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and the Fourth of July every even year. Parent B will have custody for these holidays in every odd year.

  1. Dedicated Holidays

There are some holidays that hold more importance than others. Perhaps you really want your children to spend Christmas with you because of long-standing traditions. Conversely, you may not celebrate the holidays and would, therefore, prefer a different time to spend with your children. Parents need to identify which of the holidays they find most important. If you’re aware one holiday has special importance to the other parent, you might consider allowing him or her custody. In return, you can have custody on another holiday of your choice.

  1. Extended Breaks

Usually, there are three major school breaks throughout the year: Summer, spring, and winter break. Holidays usually fall within these school vacation periods. Some parents would rather have extended periods of time with their children instead of just one single holiday. Therefore, many couples choose to have a custody agreement that gives each parent a longer period of custody. These custody periods may alternate between years or, alternatively, be permanent to suit the parents’ preferences. 

Holiday Plans and Timeshare Custody

Parents can have considerable control over their children’s custody agreements. As family law attorneys in Miami, we know courts usually sign off on arrangements. The key is you must divide the custody equitably. This doesn’t mean the custody has to be equal. In fact, many parents don’t share equal rights to their children’s custody. Many parents have a different percentage of timeshare custody.

As an example, a custodial parent may have his or her children for 70 percent of the year. During the 30 percent that remains, the noncustodial parent receives custody. You must consider these percentages when designing any custody agreement.

Because of this, it’s frequently hard for noncustodial parents to arrange some time with their children during holiday periods. In fact, lots of noncustodial parents must forfeit custody at other times to make the holidays work. Take as an example parents who normally have custody one weekend per month. They often must give up one weekend, so they can have custody over a long holiday weekend.

If you’re struggling with your holiday custody arrangements, contact our family law attorney in Miami Beach for advice.

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