With your children back in school and your divorce underway or imminent, you will soon need to make big decisions about how you share parenting time with your ex. For many families, creating the basic standards for custody won’t be that difficult.
Parents often agree about the terms of the general split, such as 50/50 parenting time or 70/30 if one parent has a much more demanding job than the other. That delicate balance can become much more difficult to maintain when special events come up for your family.
Holidays, birthdays and even spelling bees are special times when children want their parents present. How do you and your ex figure out how to divide holidays and other special events in your parenting plan?
Many people choose an alternating schedule
When it comes to holidays and birthdays, having the children spend every other special day with each of their parents is a great approach. One year, dad can have the kids for Halloween and Christmas, while Mom has them for Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. The next year, they switch. You may have to work out a similar schedule for birthdays and school events.
Some families find that a split schedule works well
If you have a particularly close bond with your children, the idea of not seeing them at all on their birthday or a holiday may be painful. Some families find that it is easier to split special days rather than to alternate them.
The child might spend the morning and early afternoon with one parent and then the late afternoon and evening with the other. That means that they can see both of their parents on their birthday or Christmas, ensuring that no one feels left out of the family.
Parents might also try to keep the whole family together for special days
When parents divorce, their relationship changes dramatically, but the family itself still exists. After the difficult transition of a divorce, some parents find that they can share those important days with one another.
Provided that you can avoid conflict, having a whole family together for all holidays and birthdays can be great for the children. It will also make them feel supported and loved to see both of their parents cheering for them at their soccer games and school plays.
Thinking about what your children want and being realistic about your family’s situation can help you plan better for shared custody.