The holiday season is a time to gather loved ones close and make lasting
memories. For parents, this is a particularly valued time. However, if
you and your co-parent are divorced or separated, planning for quality
time over the holidays can be a bit tricky. Parents with shared custody
may split holidays down the middle or trade off year by year, but when
one parent has limited visitation rights, arranging for holiday visits
can become difficult.
Whether you are trying to find ways to honor your co-parent’s visitation
rights, or if you are the parent fighting for their rights to a visit,
make sure you know how to make the most of a visitation plan this year.
Understand Your Parenting Arrangement
Visitation often varies on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, the
parent with sole or primary custody bears more responsibility for the
child and acts as their primary caregiver. The other parent, however,
is usually granted visitation rights on a regular basis. Visitation may
be allowed for one day every week, each weekend, or a few weeks out of
the year. In order to make the most of your visitation this holiday, you
need to start by seeking a firm understanding of your parenting arrangement.
If you are in any way unclear about your parenting plan, contact your
After you’ve taken care of the legal aspects and know what your rights
are as a parent, you need to make a plan. Think about the type of schedule
you want this holiday season and mark down special occasions, like family
dinners or holiday parties, on the calendar. Next, discuss these plans
with your child’s other parent so that you can come up with a visitation
plan that works with both of your schedules.
You often have to give a little to get a little, so think about what you
may be willing to negotiate in order to make your visitation schedule
work. Keep in mind, if a parent has visitation rights, he or she has a
legal right to spend time with their child. Honor the legal orders, but
make a fair arrangement that works well for both parties.
Think of Your Child
Remember, you may be eager to have your child with you for that big family
get together, or to open presents on Christmas morning, but you should
give a significant amount of thought to what your child prefers. In a
healthy situation, children thrive best when they are able to spend time
with both parents, even if they are separated or divorced. With that in
mind, make sure you allow your child to spend meaningful time with their
other parent and don’t try to prevent them from building on that
Need help establishing a visitation schedule this holiday season? Contact the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
today to discuss your child custody case with our Houston family law lawyers.