The end of the year holidays is a busy and stressful time for everyone, and Mississippi parents with a custody schedule to follow may find themselves facing new or additional issues during this time.
Mississippi law follows the “best interest of the child” standard when making child custody decisions, and most custody orders include a holiday schedule designed with this standard in mind. The goal is to provide each parent with meaningful time with the children on each holiday and make it an enjoyable experience for the children.
What if I don’t have a custody order?
Having an official custody order in place through a court is generally recommended. However, parents finding themselves with no order in place as the holidays are coming up should communicate with each other as early as possible about their plans for the holidays and desired custody schedule. This will help avoid conflict that could place additional stress on both parents and children.
Even if the holiday schedule goes smoothly without a custody order in place, it may be a good idea to consider one for the next year, in case new issues arise.
Change is inevitable
Parents who have a custody order in place could still find themselves facing complications with custody schedules during the holidays. A parent’s situation or schedule may be different from the year before, or special guests may be visiting, resulting in the desire to modify the holiday schedule laid out in the custody order.
Travel is another major reason for needing a change to the holiday custody schedule. As out of town family members get older, parents may wish to take children to visit them more often and may need additional holiday custody time to incorporate travel plans.
In these cases, it is best to remember the overall aim of the holiday schedule. If one parent needs additional time for travel, it would be fair to allow the other parent an additional day sometime within the next week or two.
Similarly, if the parent who typically has custody on Christmas Eve now has a job where they work that day, switching days would allow each parent to split the time evenly, while accommodating the changed circumstances.
As any parent knows, flexibility is necessary with a custody order. There are many things to consider when creating or modifying a holiday schedule and speaking with an attorney could help.