Thanksgiving is an important holiday celebrated by many families in the U.S. Most people have at least the Thursday of the week of Thanksgiving and often following Friday off of work or school, to allow for time together as a family. For parents who share custody of a child, Thanksgiving can be a source of contention as the parent who does not see the children over Thanksgiving may feel left out of the celebration. Additionally, other family members may get involved with visitation time around the holidays which can lead to disputes and escalate the problem.
Child Custody and Visitation Schedule
Most children want to spend quality time with each parent, including holidays and get-togethers with family. Ideally, parents will work together to create a visitation schedule that balances time between both parents. Unfortunately, parents may find it difficult to work together, especially where there is still resentment surrounding the divorce.
Parents should make the schedule and holiday plans well in advance. Although holidays are supposed to be joyous events, they are often very stressful – especially for families coordinating time away from work, travel delays, and the financial burden of holidays and travel. Stress and last-minute planning can make it even more difficult for divorced parents to work together to make sure their children have a carefree holiday.
Some possible holiday visitation schedules for parents and Thanksgiving can include alternating the holiday, dividing up the long weekend, or one parent spending Thanksgiving with the child and the other parent has another designated holiday, like Christmas.
Sharing Thanksgiving Parenting Time
It can be difficult for parents to share the Thanksgiving holiday or provide enough time for both parents to see the child, even if they live nearby. One of the issues with Thanksgiving is that so many people travel for the holiday. Plane ticket prices can be two to three times more expensive than usual during and after the week of Thanksgiving.
With increased congestion, travel times, and higher airline rates, it is often not possible for a child to spend half of the 4-day weekend with one parent and half with another. This is why alternating Thanksgivings every year or so is one of the most common options for splitting Thanksgiving.