Doing Thanksgiving & Christmas Right for Co-Parents

For many American families, the holiday season is an opportunity to relax and make memories with one another. But for co-parents, navigating holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving can be challenging, especially when they're not on good terms. Today, we're giving you some tips and tricks to make it easier.

At Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, we can help you navigate an ongoing custody battle or modify an existing custody order.

Contact us online or via phone at (817) 497-8148 to schedule a consultation with our team.

The Holidays: To Share or Not to Share?

One of the hardest questions co-parents have to answer is whether they want to spend the holidays together with their child. While enjoying the holidays as a family is a great option if you're on good terms with your co-parent, you have a couple of alternatives if you'd rather not see them:

  • Split the holidays into half-days, so each parent gets half of each holiday with the child, or;
  • Designate a specific holiday to each parent (for example, you get your child on Christmas, but their other parent gets them on Thanksgiving).

Splitting each holiday in half can be stressful for children as they get shuttled from household to household. Whatever you decide, the most important element is creating a consistent experience for your child. Handing the holidays the same way every year can help your child feel more comfortable and know what to expect.

Increase Communication During the Holidays

There's a lot going on over the holidays. Your child will have Thanksgiving and Christmas break, which will probably change your childcare schedule, depending on whether you and your co-parent work over the holidays. You may want to have family over and take a vacation, and likewise for your co-parent.

With all that going on, increasing how often you communicate with your co-parent can help reduce conflict and tension during the holidays. If you communicate more, make sure to implement boundaries on that communication—you don't need your co-parent blowing up your phone constantly.

Consider opening up a dialogue about the following topics in advance (during September or October):

  • Whether you want to have family over (and whether both parents are comfortable with those family members being around the child);
  • Whether you want to go on vacation (and for how long);
  • Whether you need to place the child in a childcare facility while you're at work (and if so, which one);
  • Activities you want to participate in with the child (and whether both parents are comfortable with those activities);
  • How you want to handle academics over the break (many children still have homework, and many schools host parent-teacher conferences).

Keep the Focus on Your Child

For as enjoyable as the holidays are, they can also be quite stressful adults—especially if you're engaged in a custody arrangement. As much as possible, you and your co-parent should commit to focusing on making the holidays as good as they possibly can be for your child, instead of allowing conflict or stress to drag down the season for the family.

If you're engaged in a custody arrangement, modifying your custody order to include details plans for the holidays can help you and your co-parent enjoy the season with your child.

To work with one of our lawyers and make sure your custody order is airtight or modify it, contact our office online or via phone at (817) 497-8148.