The Holidays & Your Parenting Plan: Tips for Co-Parents Over the Holidays

For many co-parents, the holidays are the most stressful time of the year. Balancing gift-buying, giving, and school breaks on top of a hectic work schedule isn't easy for anyone.

For that reason, taking certain precautions can help make the holidays less stressful for everyone involved. Today, we're covering how you can enjoy the holidays more (and worry about your parenting plan less).

Figuring Out Schedules Can be Difficult

One of the most problematic parts of the holiday season for co-parents is figuring out schedules. There are two primary things you need to plan for as we head towards Christmas and the New Year's:

  1. Christmas break. Most children get at least a couple of weeks off school for Christmas and New Year's. Depending on your work schedule, you may need to arrange for daycare for your child. Childcare facilities and other family members like grandparents are both popular options. Schools also often schedule parent-teacher meetings over break. For co-parents, attending these conferences can be somewhat awkward, especially if you're not on good terms. You may want to discuss alternatives ahead of time, such as having one parent attend and asking the teacher to send a summary of the meeting to the absent parent, scheduling separate meetings, etc.
  2. Work schedules (or a lack thereof). For many parents, work schedules change over the holidays. Industries like retail, hospitality, healthcare, law enforcement, and more are commonly impacted by shifting seasonal schedules. If your schedule changes or you have obligations, such as needing to attend work on Christmas day, that will impact your custody arrangement. Similarly, many parents get time off around the holidays. If you plan to take a vacation with your child(ren), you'll need to coordinate ahead of time with your co-parent to ensure you're both on the same page, and doing so won't cause any scheduling conflicts for either party.

Once you've had the opportunity to sit down and discuss these major factors, figuring out how you want to handle custody over Christmas and New Year's should become significantly easier. Which brings us to our next point...

Deciding Your Timeshare for the Holidays

You can divvy up time over the holidays in a plethora of ways. Here are some of the more common options:

  • Spending the holidays together. For co-parents who are on amicable terms with one another, this is probably the most straightforward option. It allows you to maximize the time you spend with your child(ren). However, if you or your co-parent have partners, you'll need to make sure everyone feels comfortable spending the holidays together before proceeding.
  • Giving Christmas to one parent and New Year's to the other. For parents who are less amicable and don't care too much about spending specific days with the child(ren), this is an easy solution. It allows both parents to spend a full day with the kid(s), which can be less stressful than our next option, depending on their maturity level and age.
  • Splitting the holidays half-and-half. If spending both Christmas and New Year's day with the child(ren) is important to both parents, you can split each day in half and have the kid(s) spend the first half of the day with one parent and the second half with the other. However, this can make the holidays feel a little hectic, so it's important to be well-organized and let your kid(s) know what to expect beforehand if you choose this option.

There we have it! Some ways you can spend time with your kids and enjoy the holidays to the fullest, no matter the circumstances of your co-parenting arrangement.

If you're currently engaged in a child custody battle or want to modify an existing custody order, our team here at TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP will give you the help you deserve.

Contact our office online or via phone at (310) 455-8364 to schedule a consultation with our team.

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