Dividing custody between parents is difficult, even in the most amicable of divorces. There are certain days that you'll both want to be with your children. Holidays, school breaks and vacations are all coveted as ideal times to spend with your kids after a divorce. If your parenting plan doesn't explicitly handle all of these special events and more, you could find yourself in a dispute over custody.
When creating a parenting plan, you should take the time to address special events, like birthdays and holidays, as well as school vacations. Whether you're splitting parenting time evenly or one parent has primary custody, you should both be involved with your children as much as possible.
Schedule alternating holidays and special events
In some families, the best approach to holidays and vacations is to alternate custody. There is more than one way to approach this division. You could make a list and alternate years for each holiday. Perhaps you just celebrate every other holiday and school vacation with your children. However you approach the division, make sure it's fair to everyone involved, especially the kids.
Every other spring break may be a workable solution, but every other summer vacation usually isn't. During summer vacation, sometimes the best approach is alternating weeks or even months. Spending a whole month with the parent usually relegated to visitation can feel like a vacation for the kids. It can also strengthen that relationship, while giving the custodial parent a respite from daily care.
Consider sharing truly unique days, like graduations or birthdays
When you have to make decisions about custody and parenting time, your focus should always be on the best interests of your children. Having parents fighting over a special event can decrease the joy a child feels. Missing one parent can also impact special days. If possible, both parents should try to remain amicable in social settings to share these special days.
A blended birthday, for example, with both parents and extended families, can make the child involved feel special. Having both parents present for the big game or the dance recital can also be important to the child's sense of self-esteem and stability. If it's possible for you two to work together, sharing special events can make a big difference for your children.
Try to remain flexible and to work together
You never know when family or work obligations may complicate your schedule. Being flexible when your ex needs to change something can help ensure you receive the flexibility you need as well.
Children who see their parents cooperating and working together may adjust to divorce better. Don't make your children a bargaining chip or a weapon against your ex. Try to make every decision about care and custody with their best interests in mind.