While navigating the divorce process, the couple must work through numerous negotiations and arrive at several compromises before moving forward to their exciting, new futures. Divorcing parents must devote a significant amount of time to developing the parenting plan.
Many parents attempt to create a comprehensive plan that anticipates and avoids potential future disputes. While they can address some common factors, it would be impossible to include every scenario. When deciding on how the holidays will be split up around the family, the parents have several options to choose from, including:
- The alternating holiday method: Essentially, this becomes a simple rotation. The child spends the extended July 4th weekend with mom one year and then July 4th with dad the next. They can celebrate every major holiday as well as birthdays in this manner.
- The twice-per-year method: This could take some timing and preparation, but the child could celebrate the holiday with the child on separate days. One parent could celebrate Labor Day with the child the weekend before the actual holiday and the other parent celebrates on the weekend of.
- The fixed holiday method: To avoid any type of confusion, some parents will simply choose to fix the holidays as assignments. They often choose this method when certain holidays are more important to different parents. The mother might have strong feelings about a Memorial Day celebration while birthdays have always held a special place in dad’s heart. By assigning holidays, parents can meet these needs.
- The half-holiday method: This method might only work under certain circumstances. For example, when the parents live in close proximity to each other they might choose the half-holiday method. In this scenario, the parents split the holiday up for the benefit of the family. For example, the child could spend Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with the other.
This is not to say that these plans could not change in the future. Divorced parents might decide, years later, that the parenting plan no longer works. Whether this is due to relocation or the needs of the growing child, it is wise to discuss revisions as soon as they become necessary.