By Rebecca Wade
Some say the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. The tree goes up, decorations come out and it’s time to bake cookies. But for divorced parents who want equal time with their kids on Christmas Day, dealing with child visitation around the holidays can be challenging. Family law attorney Rebecca Wade shares tips for parents on how to navigate holiday visitation, while putting the child’s best interest first.
“Everyone knows how excited children get around the holidays,” explains Rebecca. “Parents try to make the holidays magical for their kids. But there’s nothing that can ruin it more than two parents fighting over the child. Children want to spend the holidays opening presents and playing in the snow, not listening to their parents fight over visitation.”
Minimize conflict by rotating holiday schedules
Often, parents are so concerned about winning the battle and getting to spend more time with their child on Christmas Day that they overlook what’s actually best for the child. “No child wants to wake up Christmas morning, open up presents from Santa at one parent’s house and then be told that it’s time to pack up and go to their other parent’s house,” says Wade. “In my experience, it’s best to have the child spend Christmas Day with one parent and then every other year rotate the schedule so Christmas Day falls in the other parent’s block.”
What the child is going to remember and what they really want is to spend quality time with both parents. Wade says, “Kids don’t care if they are celebrating Christmas on December 25, December 26 or December 27, and they certainly don’t care if they have to celebrate it twice.”
“Unfortunately, if you can’t work out visitation on your own, then the court is going to, says Wade. “That means a stranger will decide where your kid is going to spend Christmas Eve. At the end of the day, the best gift you can give your child, is to be the bigger person.”
About the Author
Rebecca Wade is a partner at Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC, practicing in all areas of family law and criminal law having experience with protective orders, divorce, child custody and visitation, child protective services investigations, juvenile delinquency, and criminal charges.
Wade has been named a 2023 Best Lawyer in America by U.S. News & World Report, a 2023 Super Lawyer in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., and a 2020-2021 Top Lawyer by Northern Virginia Magazine.