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Don't let custody problems mar your holidays

Do you dread the holidays because of the inevitable hassles with your ex over the kids' visitation schedules? It may be time to seek a custody modification that better accommodates the holiday visitation schedule.

When both parents clamor for the kids on the same holidays, the joy of the season can get lost in a sea of acrimony and resentment. It is far better to negotiate the terms of holiday visitation and get the court's approval than to keeping fighting it out year after year.

Generally, parents alternate the main holidays:

-- Christmas Eve

-- Christmas Day

-- New Year's Eve

-- New Year's Day

-- Easter

-- Memorial Day

-- July 4th

-- Labor Day

-- Thanksgiving

Mothers and fathers usually have their children with them on their respective holidays of Mother's Day and Father's Day. If there is significant distance between the parents, schedules can be tweaked to include travel time.

However, none of this is written in stone. Non-Christian parents may decide to let their ex have the kids for Christmas in exchange for a Halloween holiday visitation or some extra winter vacation time. As the kids' break from school is usually during the holidays, ex-spouses can choose to have them either for the first half of the vacation or the second half.

Ideally, these terms can be decided amicably between the parents. When there is intransigence from either party, or from both, it may be necessary to consult with your family law attorney and take your ex back to court for the modification in custody.

Source: WomansDivorce.com, "Holiday Visitation Issues," accessed Dec. 11, 2015

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