Although the holidays can be the highlight of the year for many Texas families, those who have been through a divorce or who are facing one may undergo obstacles as they try to make the holiday season a cheerful time for their children. Both during and after a divorce, there tends to be competition for holiday time as both parties desire to be with their children. It is important to approach an unsettled visitation situation with a willingness to negotiate so that the children's needs are given priority.
If a visitation schedule is left for a judge to decide, it is common to have a plan to alternate for the holidays yearly. Children would spend important dates such as Christmas, Easter and their birthdays with each parent in every other year. Important holidays could also be alternated within the year, and the children would spend Christmas with one parent and Easter with the other. Another approach is the split schedule. This option may be preferred by the children as time is spent with both parents on a given day. However, this may not work as well if there are tensions between the two parents.
In an open divorce case, a final child custody and visitation arrangement might not yet exist. However, parents may use the holidays as a starting point for establishing their priorities in parenting time and custody arrangements. By establishing a plan in advance, a couple may be able to avoid having undesirable arrangements imposed by a judge.
A family lawyer might recommend working on a parenting plan from the moment the divorce action is filed. A lawyer might also be able to recommend collaborative options for optimizing negotiation when making important decisions about child custody during the proceedings.