Who gets the kids for Christmas?

The holidays are almost here. What if your ex says you can’t have the kids on Christmas Day? Or worse they announce “I booked a trip to Mexico with the kids!”

Holiday parenting schedules can be a nightmare when you are separated or divorced.

When your ex is being stubborn and unreasonable, it’s like talking to a brick wall.  If that sounds like your situation, don’t give up hope!  It may still be possible to work out a holiday schedule—sometimes, a family lawyer on your side is all you need to break the standoff.  Call us now, so we can negotiate with your ex or their lawyer for you.  It is important that the kids have a happy memory of this Christmas and not be caught in the middle.

But what if negotiation isn’t working, and time is running out?

We can go to court for you to get an order.

How does the court decide the holiday schedule when you and your ex can’t?

The number one factor for the court is the “best interests of the children.” It doesn’t matter what schedule you or your ex thinks is fair –  the Court will make up its own mind based on what the judge believes is best for the children. Past family traditions are not sacred, because the court believes that traditions will normally change after separation.

When deciding on a holiday schedule, the judge will look at factors like:

  • The age of the children.
  • How the children want to spend the holidays, if they are old enough to say.
  • How far apart the parents live from each other.
  • The children’s relationships with each parent.
  • What arrangement would maximize the kids’ time with both parents.
  • If one parent wants to travel with the kids over the holidays, how much will it disrupt the other parent’s time?

So, what is the court likely to order? That depends on your family’s unique situation and what’s best for your children – perhaps: sharing holidays, alternating holiday weeks or alternating holiday seasons.

It’s not too late to avoid a high conflict holiday.  But don’t delay if you think you need to go to court.  It’s never safe to assume the court is always open or will let you bring an urgent application.

Our family lawyers with offices in Vernon, Kelowna and Lake Country are here to talk strategy and give advice. We can help settle disputes and get a fair holiday parenting schedule in place, or go to Court if necessary. Reach out to us today.

Author: Benjamin J. Noorduyn