By Brenda L. Storey, Esq.
With Easter upon us, a good topic of discussion is how to divide holidays with children upon divorce. There is no right answer, and one size does not fit all. I find that the starting point is to look at how the intact family celebrated holidays.
If holidays were spent with extended family outside the state, defining the holiday by just the day upon divorce interferes with traditions. Under that kind of history, the holidays so enjoyed should be defined as a block of time. For example, Easter and Thanksgiving could be defined as the entire weekend from when school lets out to the morning school resumes. Christmas could be for a four day period. These blocks of time are then alternated on an annual basis.
If holidays were spent locally, the holidays could be defined as just the day, and alternated each year. Another option I like is to have each parent get to celebrate each holiday with the children every year, by adding the day before or after. So, for Easter, one parent has Easter Saturday and the other has Easter Sunday and they alternate the next year. Thanksgiving has Thanksgiving Thursday and Thanksgiving Friday. Christmas is Christmas Eve and Day.
Some holidays are just not important to one parent, so why keep the children from celebrating it with the other parent every year? Some holidays are not really kid holidays, such as New Year’s or a parent’s birthday, so thought needs to be put into whether it needs to be shared. Some holidays are short in duration, and are really for the child, such as Halloween. Think through whether it is truly necessary to divide that up each year, or alternate it, with the focus being the child’s desires. Also, as children grow up, their focus changes, such as being with friends (and neither parent) trick-or-treating. They should be allowed that pleasure despite their parents’ divorce.
However you holiday, we wish each and every one a blessed Passover, Good Friday, and Easter.