The period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas should be filled with happiness and peace in a perfect world. However, when a family has been split apart by divorce, the holidays are often filled with conflict and strife especially when it relates to Child Custody and Visitation. This is often one of the busiest times of the year for those of us who practice Family Law, simply because of all of the fighting that goes on.
In my experience, the best way to avoid this fighting is for the parties to all have the children's best interest in mind when planning for holiday custody and visitation arrangements. However, there are some former spouses who just can't seem to put their differences aside for even the best of reasons. In those cases, you need to have a custody and visitation schedule that specifically spells out what happens during the holidays.
In Alabama, it seems that almost every county has its own set of visitation schedules that the county calls "standard visitation." The purpose of a set "standard visitation" schedule is that the attorneys in a particular case don't have to reinvent the wheel for their clients. It serves as a good starting point in negotiations and it gives the attorneys an understanding of what the Judge would award if the case were to go to trial. Additionally, a standard visitation schedule allows the Judge to be more consistent when ruling on cases.
That being said, when negotiating a settlement between parties, there are often tweaks that we make to the visitation schedule so that each party feels like their specific needs can be met. Remember, once that schedule is adopted by the Court in your case, it becomes a Court Order and if you or the other party do something in violation of that Order, you can be held in Contempt of Court.