In New York, as well as other states, family courts get congested around the holidays because divorced parents cannot agree on who spends specific days with the children. There are, however, ways to minimize strife and increase enjoyment of the holidays for both the parents and the children.
The key to negotiating a holiday parenting schedule involves both parents being reasonable. It is likely that neither will get exactly what they want. There are two common ways that holidays can be handled. Split time is a viable option if the parents live close to each other and are able to communicate without too much drama. This is an agreement to share the holiday, and the children can spend it with both parents. The parents could also use the alternating years approach. This is when one parent gets them on the holiday one year, and the other gets them on the holiday the next year.
Without a written and agreed upon schedule, parents could argue about who promised what at an earlier time. If a complaint has not been filed with the courts, which makes the divorce process formal, then the parents may have to agree on the plan themselves. If they have an attorney, then the attorney can help with a holiday parenting schedule. It may be a good time to handle other child custody issues, too.
If someone is experiencing problems during the holidays because of a divorce that involves children, then an experienced divorce lawyer could help. An attorney could aid the parents in drawing up a schedule for child visitation rights. They could represent the parent and argue in court for the best interests of the child.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Holidays, Divorce and Who Gets The Children?", Jason Levoy, Dec. 23, 2015