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Three Tips for a Successful Holiday Visitation Scheduled for Divorced Families


In our years of experience as a family law firm, we’ve encountered tumultuous custody battles. Divorcing or divorced families entangled in these battles find it especially hard to navigate holiday visitation schedules. Despite the challenges, we’ve seen families do this successfully in the past. In this post we share a few tips we’ve gathered over the years to help you.

Keep in mind that it’s only natural for both parents to seek quality time with their kids during the holidays. This emotion drives many of the requests and scheduling conflicts. By acknowledging this fundamental desire, you can better approach the conversation with compassion. Aim to establish clear expectations and communication from the onset to minimize arguments later on.

Set a General Standard

Many families find success by alternating holidays every other year. For example, if you had the kids for Christmas last year then this season will belong to the other parent. Others opt to continue a rotation through each major holiday. If one parent keeps the kids for Thanksgiving for example, then Christmas will be for the other parent, without contest. You may also consider having the children go to one parent’s house during the actual holiday and then sharing the next day with the other parent. This can ensure that everyone has a fair chance to celebrate.

Be Open to Compromise and Flexibility

Work schedules often influence the holiday visitation as well. The best schedule for everyone will likely require changes from the normal visitation schedule. With this in mind, try to compromise with the other parent where possible.

It can be difficult to break long-standing traditions that you may have had with the children on your own or as a family. However, developing new traditions and focusing on love and time together is beneficial for everyone. Treating the other parent respectfully does not mean that you have to be friends with your former spouse. It’s simply a proactive step to improve communication to avoid further issues during the holiday.

Include These Details In Custody Agreements If Possible

Custody agreements can cover a wide scope of arrangements. If you and your ex spouse have had challenges in the past with holiday visitation arrangements, this may be your best option. If possible, specify holiday visitation arrangements in a custody agreement. This will also ensure that whatever decisions are agreed upon can be enforced down the road.

The Law Office Of Rebecca Medina serves Fresno, Clovis, and Madera California, along with surrounding cities in the area. Contact us today for your family law needs including divorce, child custody, child support, mediation, spousal support, and judgment modifications.

Rebecca MedinaAbout the Author: Rebecca Medina

Rebecca Medina is an experienced Family Law attorney, mediator and Collaborative Divorce Lawyer serving the Fresno and San Diego areas. She handles cases ranging from complex divorce matters to child custody, spousal support, prenuptial/postnuptial agreements, QDROs and uncontested divorce cases. She was rated “Clients’ Choice” by Avvo.

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