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Who gets the kids over the holidays?

We love holidays in America. Of course, Christmas is the big one, with most children even getting a week or two off from school. The celebration runs all the way to New Year's Day.

But it's not just winter. Summer has the Fourth of July, falls gets Thanksgiving and spring has Memorial Day. The summer ends with Labor Day, and kids get to take their own school vacation for months, all summer long.

Making memories

As parents, you likely have your own memories of these holidays from when you grew up. You remember drinking lemonade and running through the sprinklers on a warm Fourth of July. You remember waking up early on that magical Christmas morning. You remember the fun and togetherness of Thanksgiving, surrounded by family while you eat a feast, watch football and play board games.

The point is, you want to create these same memories with your children. They center around holidays. As divorced parents, is it even possible?

The same days

Much of divorce is about compromise. You find it littered through your parenting plan and custody agreement. You and your ex split up the time with the kids and agree on how the responsibilities and obligations of raising a family will get divided when your own relationship ends.

The problem is that you inevitably want all of the same days with your children. You may not want to compromise. You cannot make those Fourth of July or Christmas memories if your kids are with your ex.

So, what do you do? The answer is different for every couple, depending on your unique situation. A few options include:

Switching every year

Your ex gets the children on Christmas this year. You get them next year. You go back and forth, sticking to a predetermined schedule.

This can work. You get half as many chances to be with the children when you want them, but you still get some. So does your ex. Neither one of you may be thrilled about the off years, but you do not entirely lose your chance to make those memories.

Trading holidays

Another things to consider is trading specific holidays. On the years when your ex gets Christmas, perhaps you get July 4th and Thanksgiving. You trade Memorial Day and Labor Day back and fourth. This ensures that you get some holidays every year, even if you do not get them all.

Dividing each day

If you and your ex live close to one another, this might work. Just divide your days so that the kids spend half the day with you and half of it with your ex.

This is not always perfect. Who gets Christmas morning? How long do the children spend in the car, rather than enjoying the holiday? But it can mean you do not have to wait until next year to spend the holiday with them.

Your options

The solution is different for every couple. Just make sure you understand your rights and your options.

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Mohajer Law Firm, APC

Mohajer Law Firm, APC
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