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4 commonsense approaches to the holidays when co-parenting

When co-parenting, it is important to have a solid plan for the holidays that is agreed upon by both parents. This proactive approach to co-parenting can avoid complications and hurt feelings — and it’s not too early to think ahead.

Every family is different in regards to culture, religion, family traditions and personal interests. Continuity is important for children and parents alike. One key to making sure that things run smoothly during holidays is having a well-designed parenting plan. 

Co-parenting tips to manage special occasions

According to Forbes, here are 4 common-sense strategies to use for parents with shared custody:

  1. Making a custody settlement agreement: During the divorce process, holidays should receive special consideration. There are many factors to consider such as school schedules, religious affiliations and cultural identity. A comprehensive approach that considers all factors that are particular to each unique family situation should be taken into account. Getting it right the first time prevents having to go back to court to modify the co-parenting plan.
  2. Equal time: Equal time for both parents can avoid resentment and confusion. Some parents choose the approach of splitting vacations and holidays 50/50. This ensures that children get to have a special holiday experience with both parents. 
  3. Alternating years: If splitting holidays equally among both parents doesn’t suit your family, there is the option of alternating years. Some take the odd or even year approach to making sure that each parent gets a concentrated time together with minor children.
  4. Buying gifts together: Divorced parents sometimes fall into the trap of competing with one another when it comes to buying gifts. Remember that children mostly desire quality time together making memories that last a lifetime. Experiences usually outweigh gifts. However, gifts are important as well. An approach that makes sense to many parents is to buy gifts together. Collaboration in gift purchases can prevent unhealthy competition.

These practical approaches to co-parenting can help to avoid problems that cast a shadow over what should be a joyous occasion. 

If planning a divorce, it is important to consider how your family will handle the holidays. Having the assistance of a professional who is experienced in child custody can be beneficial to the process of making a solid custody settlement agreement.