Holiday Possession and Access
The holidays can create unnecessary conflict between custodial and noncustodial parents. First and foremost, if you and your child’s parent can agree on a schedule, you are encouraged and more than welcome to do so. There is no watchdog making sure that the parties follow the schedule in the court order so therefore parents are encouraged to work out a schedule that works for the children.
However, in many circumstances, the parents cannot agree on a schedule that deviates from the court order. If that is the case and to avoid unnecessary conflict, the parties should read and follow the court order. A possession order can be confusing and convoluted. It is impossible to digest completely and a parent should read only the language for each period of possession (i.e., holiday possession schedule). Whenever an agreement is impossible to accomplish, read the current order and follow the terms and conditions of the order.
Sometimes the possession order appears to be unfair or unjust as to one parent. It is impossible to draft around this situation. There are years when a parent who has the first portion of the Christmas holidays gets far more time than the other parent. These circumstances are out of control of the parties, attorneys and the court. It is simply how it falls. The next year or the next period of possession may work in your favor. Instead of lamenting this issue with the other parent, accepting it and moving forward is always in the best interests of the children.
Children need to know that the parent not in possession of the children are enjoying their time away. Of course the children need to know that they are missed; however, making sure that the parent not in possession is visiting other family and friends, watching a movie, going to dinner, etc. provides the children with the peace of mind that a parent is not lonely, depressed and alone. Be sure to tell your children what you have done in their absence so that they do not feel responsible for your well-being. Allow your children to enjoy their time away without worrying about you no matter how lonely you are or how much you miss them.