A man and woman smiling at their young daughter, who is wearing a red holiday hat

Keys to Holiday Co-Parenting

Navigating the Season

The holidays can be a wonderful time to spend with family and friends, but they can also lend themselves to difficult situations for co-parents trying to raise their children after a divorce. Co-parents may feel a great deal of anxiety and stress going into the holiday season, which is why it’s important for them to have a plan for how to navigate the challenges the season brings.

With that in mind, here are several tips for co-parents to consider as they prepare for the upcoming holiday season.

Keep a Kids First Mindset

Any co-parent looking ahead at planning their holidays must remember that their children should come first in all that they do. While you might prefer to try and cram multiple gatherings in one day in order to accommodate your personal desires for the holidays, doing so might exhaust or even alienate your children who just want to enjoy the time off school.

The holidays are a time to make memories with your children, so trying to serve your own desires has the potential to create more chaos than you or your children want. Rather than pursue your own interests, listen to your children and do your best to create a holiday that will remain in their memories for the rest of their lives.

Plan Ahead

Your custody agreement is a valuable source of information as to which parent has time with the children on specific days and even on certain holidays. Knowing what the plan is in advance can create a more pleasant atmosphere as you and your co-parent determine issues such as picking up and dropping off the children.

In addition to the more formal custody issues, it is also helpful to plan which of you will engage in specific holiday traditions with the children. Keeping family traditions even after a divorce can help your children cope with their new family situation.

Be Flexible and Open in Communication

With all of the various events that will be happening over the holiday season, it’s necessary that you and your co-parent be willing to be flexible with your plans. Changes might occur very quickly and often, and staying rigid in your plans can create more tense situations than are necessary. Keep your children’s best interests in mind; if a change in the plan might benefit them, be willing to let that change occur.

You and your co-parent should also keep open lines of communication, if possible. If changes occur, you should communicate them as soon as you can in order to determine alternatives and to make any transitions as smooth as you can.

Experiencing Holiday Custody Issues?

Unfortunately, the holidays can create situations where a parent may be left out from celebrating the holidays with their children. If this is the case, you should consult with a family law attorney as soon as you can in order to determine your best course of action.


At Pacific Cascade Family Law, our team understands how important it is to spend time with your children. We are committed to helping our clients come to the best possible outcome for them and their children. To learn more about our approach or to schedule a consultation, call us at (888) 981-9511 or visit us online.

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