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5 considerations to make a flexible holiday time-sharing schedule

Ask any divorced parent and they will tell you that one of the most stressful times of the year is the time leading up to Christmas and other end-of-the-year holidays, due in part to a time-sharing agreement that was established months or even years in advance.

Divorced parents have a lot to consider in the weeks to come, especially when it comes to visitation with their children. But if parents keep these five considerations in mind, it may be possible to avoid the usual holiday headache.

  1. Put your child's needs above your own. Considering everything from your child's health to the effect travel would have on them are all great ways to put your child's needs ahead of your own. Ask yourself, "Would the courts consider my request for more time to be in my child's best interests?" If the answer is no, you may want to consider different options.
  2. Remain flexible when it comes to travel and visits. Remember to keep an open mind when sharing time with your ex-spouse. Visits may go long or travel conditions may cause delays - all of which can be out of a parent's control. Keep lines of communication open and your ex-spouse in the know about the situation in order to avoid a contentious fight later on.
  3. Talk to your former spouse about travel plans. Depending on how far you're planning on traveling, it's always a good idea to speak with your ex about where you're going. Flight delays, cancellations or hazardous driving conditions can all interfere with a time-sharing schedule. Consider these delays and remain open to the idea of trading days in order to give your ex the time they deserve with your children.
  4. Keep lines of communication open and friendly. Open communication is key when navigating a complex time-sharing agreement over the holidays because it eliminates a lot of the frustrations associated with the unknown. Remaining friendly with your ex can also cut down on contention and stress, making it easier to negotiate concessions from either side.
  5. Don't make plans you can't keep. Scheduling appointments or making plans for your child that interfere with the other parent's time can easily upset or offend them. Actively consult with your ex prior to making plans and be open to the possibility of trading off time later on. 

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Mr. McKellar was voted by his peers as a “Top Attorney” by Knoxville’s CityView magazine in its 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 editions. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Mr. McKellar was selected as a member of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by the National Trial Lawyers.

Ms. Easter was voted by her peers as a “Top Attorney” in Cityview Magazine for Family Law / Divorce / Child Support in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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