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How Do Parents Handle Custody During the Holidays?

For happily married parents, the holidays are usually a joyous time of year, but for recently separated parents or for parents going through the divorce process, the thought of the holidays can be stressful. “How are we going to split time with our kids? Will we be able to celebrate our time-honored traditions? Will I be alone without my kids during the holidays?” are the types of questions parents ask themselves.

If you’re worried about how you’re going to deal with child custody during the holidays, especially if this is all new to you, we hope to shed light on the matter. Since so many of our clients are parents, we address this issue regularly and can help you better understand what to expect.

Do You Get Along With Each Other?

For starters, if you’re on good terms with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, you don’t necessarily have to miss out on anything at all. You can seriously consider going on and celebrating the holidays as you do every year together as one united family. And you can both agree that if significant others come into the picture at a later date, that you can include them as well. This situation can be ideal for low-conflict families who are divorcing.

Holidays Will Be Addressed in the Parenting Plan

Under California law, when parents of minor children divorce, they have to address child custody in what’s called a Parenting Plan before a judge will sign off on their divorce. In your Parenting Plan, you will need to make provisions for child custody during the holidays, spring break, and summer vacation.

While there isn’t a right or wrong way to address the holidays, it is very common for parents to simply alternate holidays each year. For example, you may get Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve this year, while your ex gets Christmas Day this year and you rotate those holidays every year.

When Your Schedule-Lifestyle is Unique

Do you have a unique schedule or lifestyle? For example, are you on the road a lot for your work? Or, does your ex live in a different state? If you have an unorthodox schedule or lifestyle, that doesn’t mean it can’t be accommodated during the holidays. The courts understand that each family is unique, so it’s entirely possible to create a holiday schedule that is tailored to your family’s individual needs.

Next: Child Custody Conflict? How the Courts Look at It

Looking for legal representation in a divorce or child custody matter? Contact Cage & Miles to schedule a free consultation.