Despite legal custody agreements, holidays always present special problems for divorced couples with children. These problems encompass such issues as each parent’s personal beliefs, their religious beliefs and their extended family’s traditions. As such it pays to spell-out holiday access schedules to the greatest extent possible.
Some holidays are easier to compromise on than others, such as allowing a father to take custody during Father’s Day and the mother to take custody on Mother’s Day. Others are multi-day holidays, such as Christmas, when one parent can get custody on Christmas Eve and the other Christmas Day, alternating between on odd and even years.
Why Easter is Difficult to Manage
But Easter is harder. The big celebration is Easter Sunday, and there is no good alternative celebration date. Many families solve the problem by using Thanksgiving as an offset to Easter. This is often a good compromise since children tend to get equal days off of school for both holidays, and both holidays are generally enjoyed with extended families and friends. An example of how this might work is for one parent to get custody for Easter on odd-numbered years and the other parent to get custody on Thanksgiving, then switching on even-numbered years.
However, Easter is also a religious holiday causing some parents to see it as something more than a “Thanksgiving equivalent.” This is true even if each parent is not particularly religious due to long-held traditions in the extended family (such as church followed by an annual Easter Egg hunt).
The issue is even more complex in multi-religious households. An example might be when one parent is Jewish and the other is Christian. Easter and Passover always fall near each other on the calendar, but sometimes they fall during exactly the same period of time. If calls for a Passover Seder fall on Easter Sunday, what is a family to do? This needs to be determined well ahead of time and in the best interest of the children. Keep in mind that the stresses of a divorce often cause people to move closer to their familial and religious roots. So even if, historically, Easter or Passover was “not important” to someone before the divorce, that might no longer hold true.
In summary, don’t make any assumptions based on a parent’s views before the divorce. Always spell everything out to the greatest extent possible – and allow flexibility for religious differences.
Finding a Family Law Attorney in San Diego
If you find yourself faced with divorce in California and need professional, compassionate advice on how to handle this difficult time, please call The Edmunds Law Firm at (760) 634-7630, or fill out the contact form on our website. We have over 33 years of experience handling a variety of complicated family law cases in California.