Too often, parents going through a divorce or having children in common have problems around the holidays with visitation. This can occur for several reasons:
1. There is no order in place
2. There is no agreement in place
3. The agreement or order is no longer age appropriate
4. Someone refuses to abide by an existing agreement or order
5. The existing agreement/order is vague enough to cause problems
6. The existing agreement/order does not cover the entire holiday period
Years ago, the Baltimore County court system instituted a holiday court to get relief fast on this issue. A bit later, I helped create the same for Howard County, although it no longer exists.
The bottom line is that it is expensive and uncertain to try to enforce or obtain holiday visitation at the last minute.
It does not have to be that way.
Parents can go to a highly experienced parenting coordinator or mediator, such as myself, and lay out the issues, try to reach a decision, but in the event they cannot reach a decision, allow a parenting coordinator (or a mediator in binding mediation) to make a decision that everyone is required to bind themselves to.
These two approaches save the time and expense for trying to go to court, which is expensive and rarely quick enough to solve the issue.
If you are going through a holiday visitation issue, you owe it to your child(ren) to try to solve it quickly and efficiently.
For attorneys drafting agreements at the time of divorce or a break-up, consider adding such a clause into your agreements. While many of us have agreements regarding mediation, adding a holiday visitation clause can often be helpful, as well.