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Deciding on a Holiday Visitation Schedule After a Separation or Divorce


Holidays should be one of the most enjoyable times for all members of a family. However, this time of year can also be a source of great conflict, tension, and stress when dealing with new parenting arrangements after a separation or divorce. And while this can make you feel more alone than ever, according to data released by Statistics Canada, more than 1.3 million of the approximately twenty million formally married Canadians between the ages of 25 and 64 were reportedly separated or divorced in 2017. Another 1.6 were currently separated from a common law partner.

While you’re in good company, understanding the unique aspects of your particular situation can help you pursue the best path for you and your children this season. Planning in advance is an essential factor for successful co-parenting during the holidays.

What Are Options For Co-Parenting During the Holidays?

Co-parenting arrangements can come in a variety of forms and the key is finding one that can maximize your chances of enjoying a relaxing celebration with your children and family. Common ways that parents divide and share holiday time include:

  • Splitting the holiday in half. In this scenario, each parent spends time with the children for part of the same holiday. This obviously works best when the parents live close together and travel time can be minimized.
  • Alternating holidays every other year. Parents can also choose to alternate between holidays from year to year. This example can be attractive because it means each parent eventually gets to celebrate a holiday with the children.
  • Celebrating a holiday twice. Even if you and your ex assign fixed holidays, no one said holidays have to be celebrated on the official date, and the last people who will be sticklers for this are probably your kids. Even if the other parent has the kids on the official holiday, you can always redo the celebration.

What Are Other Strategies For Successful Co-Parenting During the Holidays?

  • Get permission to travel in advance. If you are planning to travel internationally and you share custody with another parent or guardian, you will need to obtain a signed consent letter in advance to take your children out of the country.
  • Be flexible. While custody agreements are important, keep in mind this is the time of year that many extended family members come to visit. Be as flexible as possible and allow your kids to have opportunities they don’t normally get to, even if it means you have to alter your normal schedule.
  • Take time for yourself. Give yourself permission to take a moment to breathe this holiday season. Separations and divorces aren’t easy, so don’t forget so also plan for your own emotional well-being in addition to planning your children’s visitation schedule.

Give Yourself the Gift of Help From the Right Legal Team.

If you have questions about child custody this holiday season or any other time of year, it is important to obtain clarity from the right family law lawyer. As the Mississauga child custody lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP, we have significant experience helping people like you figure out how to successfully co-parent with an ex-spouse after a separation or divorce. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to confidentially begin to figure out your next steps.





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