One issue every divorcing family with children needs to deal with is the change in the holiday schedule. Holidays are generally a time, sometimes the only time, that the children spend time with their extended family and everyone gets together. There is often travel involved, if families have moved apart from each other over time. Holidays in divorcing families can obviously be a trying time.
First, the parties need to figure out when holiday plans overlap who gets to celebrate with the children. It is easy to work out for some special events, such as a birthday, where possibly the child could spend half the day with each parent or there could be celebrations on different days. But what happens when both parents want the child for a specific time, such as Christmas morning?
In final divorce decrees, the parties agree to or the court determines a holiday schedule. A common schedule would be where the parents alternate holidays every other year. That way, both mom and dad are able to maintain a tradition with the children and the children are able to spend time with extended family on both sides. This, of course, is something that is able to be worked out by the parents. If a family has different traditions, a holiday schedule is able to incorporate that. For example, if mom wants to bring the children up north to see her family the first week of winter break, but dad likes to take a vacation with the children the second week of winter break, the parties are able to put those specific terms into an agreement for the court to sign off on. The parties are always able to agree on things outside of court, but it is only binding and really enforceable without going back to court if the court incorporates the terms into a court order.