The need to divide parenting time with your ex can be one of the most painful challenges when you divorce or end your romantic relationship. Shared custody arrangements, which are the standard in most modern divorces, mean that sometimes you won’t get to be with your children, even on special days.
Your custody order or parenting plan will discuss your general breakdown of parenting time and your typical weekly schedule. It will also include provisions for sharing the holidays and special days like birthdays. What should you and your ex consider when working out a holiday schedule in a shared custody situation?
Your traditions and preferences
If the children have always enjoyed coming with you for a large family gathering where all four of your siblings bring their children for a raucous get-together, then you may want to maintain that tradition for the sake of consistency. Your children may enjoy continuing to celebrate in the same way rather than alternating holidays that already have meaningful annual traditions.
When it comes to how you divide the holidays, considering the parents’ preferences and culture can help. If you come from different religions or cultural backgrounds, different holidays may have importance for each of you, allowing you to divide them according to your preferences.
How much the two of you can interact
Some families are able to work out scenarios where everybody gets together still for Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays. If you and the other parent maintain a positive dynamic with one another, you may be able to spend hours together with the children without causing conflicts that lead to unnecessary stress.
If you can handle seeing each other briefly while being polite and pleasant, then it could be an option for the two of you to split the holidays in half so the children spend the morning with one parent and the evening with the other. Otherwise, parents will likely experience a change in mood when they see each other, you may need to alternate holidays so that conflict doesn’t disrupt celebrations.
Being honest with yourself about what would be realistic for you and best with your children will help you and their other parent reach terms for shared custody around the holidays that will truly work for your family.