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Determining holiday visitation schedules

As the holiday season approaches, Clarksville residents likely begin to turn their minds towards getting together as families. For divorced families dealing with a visitation schedule, this may become a trying time. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that as of 2013, there were 22.1 million children living in homes without both parents present. These kids no doubt want to be able to be with both parents during the holidays (without any tension present). Yet challenges such as schedule differences, distance between parents, and any potential discord that could remain between them may make having a happy holiday season for all seem virtually impossible.

In many cases, the court may establish a holiday visitation schedule that it feels to be appropriate. The Annotated Code of Tennessee lists in its guidelines regarding visitation that if the court chooses to award this privilege to a non-custodial parent, it will go on to decide “in which parent's home each minor child shall reside on given days of the year, including provisions for holidays, birthdays of family members, vacations and other special occasions.” For many divorced couples, the only time issues arise with their court-mandated visitation schedules is when a scheduled visit conflicts with a holiday.

In such cases, the holiday visitation schedule is said to take precedence over regular parenting days. However, that’s not to say that divorced parents cannot work out their own arrangements to accommodate both parties. As the court bases its decisions on the best interests of the children, parents may be expected to do the same. Thus, when possible, they may be encouraged to communicate with each other prior to the arrival of the season to plan an equitable holiday visitation schedule. Doing so could potentially save all involved a lot of heartache.