It's no secret—most of us look forward to the holidays. Whether you're anticipating a turkey dinner this Thanksgiving or the presents that will show up around Christmas, there's plenty to be excited about.

However, the holidays can also be a source of stress for co-parents. It can be difficult to figure out how you want to handle custody between busy work and school schedules, especially if you're not on good terms with your co-parent. Today, we're here to explore how you can effectively co-parent your child over the holidays.

At Smith Law Offices, LLC, we can help you navigate your custody battle or modify an existing custody order.

Contact us online or via phone at (636) 400-1177 to schedule a consultation with our team.

Including Clauses for the Holidays in Your Parenting Plan

The further in advance you come to an agreement on how to handle the holidays with your co-parent, the better. Setting defined terms for your custody arrangement during the holiday season allows you to incorporate those terms into your parenting plan, making them a legally binding part of your child custody order.

Integrating provisions for the holidays into your parenting plan is the easiest way to minimize conflict between co-parents and ensure your child has a stable experience each year when the holidays roll around. If you have an existing custody order, you may need to file an order modification case to adjust the terms of your parenting plan.

With that out of the way, let's discuss what you should talk about with your co-parent as you figure out how to handle the holidays.

Figure Out Your Work and Vacation Schedules

Many people take time off over the holidays and use that time to travel. If you want to go on a vacation with your child, you may have to change up your custody schedule.

You should communicate about your vacation plans and work schedule as far in advance as you can. The more advance notice you give each other, the easier it will be for you both to spend quality time with your child.

You may also want to consider including a provision in your parenting plan for how to handle vacations (for example, allowing each parent to have a full week of custody and take the child on vacation during that time as long as they give a month's worth of advance notice).

Discuss Your Child's Schedule

Your child will have Thanksgiving and Christmas break, which may mean finding a childcare facility if you and your partner both work full-time, and your child can't be home alone.

Most schools also hold parent-teacher conferences over the holidays. Discuss how you want to handle those with your co-parent. Will you both go? If only one of you can make it, can the teacher or parent send the parent who can't attend a brief of what happened during the meeting? How will you handle it if your child isn't performing well at school? Answering these questions ahead of time can save you trouble in the long run.

Decide How You Want to Handle Holidays

When it comes down to events like Thanksgiving and Christmas, you have a few options:

  • Split days, so your child spends one half of the day with one parent and one half with the other.
  • Exchange holidays, so you get your child for Thanksgiving, and your co-parent gets them for Christmas.
  • Share holidays, where you and your co-parent spend the day together with your child.

Deciding which option suits your custody arrangement best largely depends on your relationship with your co-parent and your family dynamic. If you're on good terms, sharing the holidays can be a great chance to make some wonderful memories. If you're more estranged, exchanging holidays can create a more stable, less stressful experience for your child.

At Smith Law Offices, LLC, we can help you tackle your child custody or order modification head-on, working with you to develop the perfect parenting plan and make the holidays a stress-free experience.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (636) 400-1177.

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