During divorce, when one parent is awarded physical child custody, the other parent is typically given visitation rights. However, child visitation rights are not an automatic right — they're considered a privilege. Once established, it's vital that you stick to the parenting plan and visitation schedule, even during major holidays. While the holiday season may seem like a situation where you should spend more time with your children, your visitation rights are the same no matter the season.

How Does the Court Establish Holiday Visitation for Non-Custodial Parents?

Visitation rights are established by either both parents or the court. Depending on the age of your child, the court can consider their wishes when creating custody and visitation plans. This is because visitation rights are not only important for the parent, but they're also important for the child. In order to avoid conflict during the holidays, your visitation plan should also detail visitation during these times. That holiday plan can include:
  • What holidays the non-custodial parent will see or have the children
  • How the exchange will go down
  • Pickup and drop off locations and times
  • Length of visit
The court will order supervised visitation in cases where the child's best interests would be better served during non-custodial parent visits that are supervised by another adult. If the court finds that contact by the non-custodial parent will harm the child physically or emotionally, then no visitation will be ordered.

Creating a Holiday Visitation Schedule

While you and your former spouse workout the visitation schedule, you'll need to determine a plan for the holidays. These major holidays include the following:
  • Easter
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • New Year's
  • Hanukkah
  • Yom Kippur
  • Rosh Hashanah
Children typically spend Mother's Day with the mother, and Father's Day with the father. Another important holiday to plan out is the child's birthday. When creating a plan for holiday visitation it is important that you're flexible and reasonable. If you and your former spouse cannot agree, then the court will create the plan for you. You should also be open to compromise. For instance, while you may have the children for Christmas this year, then your former spouse will get the children next Christmas. For holidays when you do not have the children for that particular day, then be open to celebrating with your children a few days before or after.

What Happens If Someone Interferes With Visitation?

Interfering with visitation, even during the holidays, never serves in the child's best interests. This disruption in the established plan exposes the child to unwarranted change. Unfortunately, the holiday season often creates feelings of loneliness and depression for non-custodial parents. However, you should never act on those feelings and interfere with visitation. Such an interference can give the court grounds for a removal of visitation rights or for even a change in custody.

Refusing to Return the Child

One of the most common reasons for an interference in visitation is when a custodial parent refuses to give the child over for non-custodial parent visitation. Such an interference obviously hinders the child's best interest because they are deprived a relationship with the non-custodial parent. If you're a non-custodial parent and your spouse refuses to give you the children for visitation, consult your family law attorney now.

Supervised Holiday Visitation for Non-Custodial Parent

If supervised visitation is awarded to the non-custodial parent, then that right carries over to holidays as well. Keep in mind that the court will decide on when and where the visits will take place. During the visit, a counselor will watch and listen for any behavior that could injury the child's well being. Even during the holidays, if a counselor sees any of these triggering behaviors, then the visit will end.

To Learn More About Holiday Visitation for Non-Custodial Parent Issues

We can help you with issues related to holiday visitation for non-custodial parent. To learn more, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.
Categories: Child Visitation