With October winding down, many residents of the Phoenix area are probably starting to think about the major winter holidays that will be upon us in a few short weeks. This is a stressful time for a lot of reasons, as the holidays require a lot of planning and preparing.
For a single parent, one of the most important aspects of this planning is to make sure she is clear on which parent will have the child and to nail down the details of this plan. This is important since both parents are going to want to spend time with their children on holidays that are special, and nobody is really going to want to deal with last minute conflicts that could ruin the holiday.
There is no one right or wrong way to divvy up holidays, but there are some general principles parents can and should bear in mind. First, holiday schedules will typically take precedence over regularly scheduled parenting time. Therefore, it is advisable that a parenting plan deal with the issue of holidays separately from the usual parenting time schedule.
Another point to bear in mind is that holidays have different significance to different people. For example, one family might make a huge deal out of Christmas while for others, the big family gathering is Thanksgiving. Religious and cultural beliefs may also dictate the importance of holidays.
On a practical level, a parent should go in to discussions about a parenting plan knowing what holidays are most essential to him or to his family. These should be his priority. Otherwise, he will have to understand that, generally speaking, a judge will tend to divide holiday time evenly between parents. An Arizona resident who has questions about visitation, including holidays, should consider talking with an experienced family law attorney.