When parents get divorced, part of the divorce agreement is the custody and visitation schedule for the children. However, a standard custody and visitation agreement may not fully meet both parents’ and children’s needs during the holidays. As a parent, you have options to create a workable holiday schedule with your ex in order to make this time of the year as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.
Virginia Child Custody Laws
In Virginia, child custody and visitation is determined either by the parents in their divorce agreement or by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts. Virginia allows for joint legal custody, joint physical custody, and sole custody of a child. This determines the visitation the non-custodial parent is allowed throughout the year with their child. When it comes to holiday visitation schedules, the Virginia courts normally used an alternated schedule, in which one parent gets the child on a holiday one year, and the other parent the next. However, Virginia courts do allow for more unique schedules to be created for the holidays if it is determined that it is in the best interests of the child.
Holiday Scheduling Options
There are two main options for creating a workable holiday schedule with the other parent of your child. The first is to create an unofficial custody agreement for the holidays outside of the courtroom. If you and your former spouse are on good terms, you may be able to sort out visitation during the holiday season on your own. It could include splitting school breaks, or even splitting a day in particular between both parents.
For example, one parent could get the child Christmas morning, the other in the afternoon. However, if issues arise during a holiday visitation schedule that you work out amongst yourselves, you do not have much recourse if your ex decides to violate the agreement. Some couples utilize a mediator to discuss the options for holiday visitation to determine what would work best for everyone involved.
The second option for creating a holiday visitation schedule is requesting a modification to the existing child custody agreement. Using this option, you would need to go to court and argue to the judge why the existing visitation schedule should be changed for the holidays. Keep in mind that your argument needs to explain why this change is in the best interests of the child, not the bets interests of either parent. This method is typically needed if the parents are not on good terms or you are afraid that your ex would not abide by an unofficial holiday arrangement made outside of court.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
The holidays are a time of joy and your children deserve the opportunity to spend it with everyone that they love. If you have further questions about setting up a holiday schedule with your former spouse or other questions regarding Virginia child custody, contact us today.