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Child Custody and Visitation Over the Holidays

As we approach the holidays the issue and the heart tug of whose family to spend the holidays with can be a point of contention for any married couple. For families that are divorced time management over the holidays can be an even bigger challenge. The story of one divorced mother shows that child custody and visitation during the holidays does not always have to be as complicated as perceived. With hard work the former couple feels they have successfully constructed a joint parental relationship that focuses on the kids.

The woman and her husband were married for ten years and divorced when they were relatively young. They did not have very many assets and child custody was the hardest issue to solve between the two of them. The former couple decided to use a mediator, and their mediator informed the recent divorcees that their joint parental relationship would be less complicated if they did not unnecessarily accuse each other of being an unfit parent. The former couple sincerely believed and told the mediator that their former partner was a fit parent. They agreed the mother was the Primary Residential Parent, and the father was the Secondary Residential Parent.

Because of the diplomatic agreement, the mediator simply gave the former couple the state's "Model Parental Time Sharing Schedule" and did not try to bind either parent with a disproportionate custody role. The guideline outlined who should have the children over holidays, school spring breaks and even summer vacations. As the parents settled naturally into their joint parenting roles the schedule became a guideline that was consulted with sparingly. The former couple would check in with each other and change schedules and times as the needs of their children changed.

Granted, not every joint parental relationship can be effortless and the mother admits that it took five years of practice to achieve their level of ease. But as they worked toward the goal of an amicable joint parental relationship, both parents agree they did not do it for themselves they did it for their kids.

Source: Huffingtonpost.com, "Splitting Up the Holidays? It's All about the Kids," Jennifer Cullen, 11/16/10

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