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Are you clear on the visitation schedule during the holidays?

For whatever reason, child custody arrangements sometimes hit a snag during the holiday season. Maybe the visitation schedule is new and one or both parents simply aren't used to it yet, or maybe one parent forgets whose year it is to have the kids for the week. In any case, there are some steps parents in Colorado can take to help themselves and their children have a conflict-free holiday.

First, if you're not quite sure what the plan is this year, it's a good idea to review the custody agreement. Many agreements are specific about when and where the kids are supposed to be dropped off or picked up, and you don't want to start off the kids' visitation with a spat between you and your ex over a scheduling mix-up. Other child custody orders aren't that specific, and in that case, parents should communicate clearly with each other and the children about what to expect.

Ex-spouses tend not to see eye-to-eye on many issues, but the goal with child custody arrangements, and especially around the holidays, is to ease the emotional burden on the children. With that in mind, parents should also be open to compromise.

For example, it may not be beneficial for the kids if you demand that they celebrate a particular holiday on the specific day. If that day is reserved for visitation with the other parent this year, then it usually isn't a good idea to create conflict by breaking the child custody agreement. Some parents create a new family tradition by celebrating the holiday at a different time.

However, if some other factor is involved -- for instance, if the visitation would put the children's well-being at risk -- then parents need to be aware of their option of petitioning the court for a child custody modification.

In any case, during a season that often has its ups and downs, parents will want to do what they can to make the holiday season warm and special for their children.

The Mercury, "Child custody and the holidays: Do's and Don'ts," Andrew D. Taylor, Nov. 27, 2013

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