Am I the only one with joint custody who thinks the court-assigned holiday parenting time schedule they have been ordered to follow is nonsense? I can’t possibly be the only one frustrated beyond measure about having to put my kids through an exchange (or sometimes 2 in one day) just because it’s Memorial Day or Columbus Day.
The holidays can be stressful enough without the added stress of dealing with the ridiculous court-assigned holiday parenting schedule too. At present, I’m up against this holiday schedule, while at the same time dealing with an ex who is unwilling to be flexible with the schedule.
I understand that it is in place as a safeguard to ensure you see your kids on holidays.
I understand it’s also helpful when exes refuse to communicate.
However, I saw my kids for 7 hours on Christmas Day this year, and that is something I don’t understand. 2 exchanges for the kids on a special day for them. Christmas is the biggest holiday we celebrate in our house (and in their father’s house). In past years, prior to our litigation and enforcement of the court’s holiday schedule, my ex and I had agreed to alternate the Christmas Eve overnight and the Christmas Day overnight. But this year, in addition to having to follow the court’s schedule, Christmas fell on a Sunday over “his weekend.” This is why over the 84 hours of Christmas weekend (Friday after school through Monday) my kids were with me for 7 of those hours.
I was prepared for them to be with their dad for the weekend and knew my time would be limited. This year, according to the schedule, they were to be with him for the Christmas Eve overnight from 5:00 pm through 12:00 pm on Christmas Day. I was scheduled to have them from 12:00 pm through 7:00 pm on Christmas Day. They were to go back to their dad’s on Christmas Day night for a second Christmas overnight.
Two exchanges on Christmas Day? Come on. What judge would reasonably agree that that is in the best interest of the kids? How are kids supposed to make the necessary transition between the two houses? There just isn’t time. Nor was there time…my kids didn’t make the transition and were never really present for those 7 hours with me at my house as we attempted to celebrate a quick Christmas. The courts took that away from them. And so did their dad…
(For those not familiar with transition time, feel free to Google it.)
Now normally, I can only imagine (and tell me if I’m wrong), most co-parents are capable of working together to make the schedule work for everyone in a fair and reasonable manner. And since we had an arrangement in the past to split the Christmas overnights for the kids, I was hopeful he would be willing to bypass the court schedule this year and permit that again for the kids. Why mess with their Christmas routine? Why take anything away from them? However, he is not capable and was not willing. In fact, he’ll always do the opposite of anything I request, even if it IS in the best interest of the kids, just to spite me. I know this. But with my stomach in knots and breath held, I sent the email anyway. At least I can say I tried. And when it comes to my kids, I will always try. While I remained hopeful, I had very low expectations that he’d accept my request. I explained in my email how this would be the first year the kids wouldn’t spend an overnight at each house over the two Christmas nights, and I asked for the Christmas Day overnight. And he did just as predicted: he flat out refused, and true to his nature, he wasn’t nice about it. Exhale.
My ex’s shortcomings aside, how many of you are dealing with a schedule that just doesn’t work for your situation, yet you’re stuck with it for better or worse? Raise your hands if at 4:00 pm this past Thanksgiving instead of celebrating with family, watching football, eating turkey, etc. you were excusing yourself from either your own holiday dinner or from your hosts’ dinner to drive to your 4:00 pm exchange to drop your kids off with your ex or picking your kids up? Or worse, how many of you weren’t even able to go visit family or friends on Thanksgiving because you were tied to a 4:00 pm exchange that day? Sucks, right? Wouldn’t a 12:00 exchange instead make more sense for Thanksgiving? Or whatever time works better for you and your ex? Why do we have the court dictating the time?
This “schedule” shouldn’t be a “one size fits all.” It may be better suited for sole custody situations, where the non-custodial parent may only see their kids every other weekend. But not for situations such as mine where I share 50/50 shared custody of my kids.
And don’t get me started with the President’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day holidays. Don’t get me wrong, if you and your families celebrate them, that’s wonderful, and that works for you. But we don’t celebrate these, and I think they should be treated like regular days, rather than putting the kids through unnecessary exchanges (sometimes 2 in 1 day). It would make much more sense for the kids to be with whichever parent they are “scheduled” to be with per our regular parenting schedule. Sure, the kids don’t have school, I get that, but in my opinion, these “holidays” just create more stress for children and parents of divorce. My ex feels that it is necessary to follow the schedule by the book, even though the book wasn’t written for our specific situation.
(And why is it that the court allows me 9 hours with my kids every other Columbus Day? But only 7 hours on Christmas Day?!? It makes no sense!)
At some point in the very near future, I’m hoping sit down with my ex and alter the holiday schedule to work for our situation (with a mediator). He’s already admitted to me that the court schedule prevents him from traveling to see his extended family, and I’ve offered him an alternative that would allow for such travel, so why has he been so unwilling to work together to fix this? Only we have the power to do so at this point. Apparently, his hatred towards me and desire to fight me (about everything) is stronger than having the option to see his family on holidays. That shows you where his priorities really are. Wish me luck!