Agreeing On a Custody Schedule During the Holidays

It’s a given that most parents want as much time as they can with their children during the holidays.  Sitting at home alone without your kids on Christmas is a situation that no mother or father wants to face.

It can be challenging deciding which parent gets the children during Christmas. Still, sadly one person must deal with this unfortunate scenario. Luckily, parents are usually required to split all holidays evenly when it comes to a custody schedule. This actually applies to all joint custody scenarios, regardless of whether the specific situation is shared or otherwise.

What Makes Holiday Custody Schedule So Important?

A child’s visitation schedule is a vital element in the case of parents with joint custody. The following reasons highlight why establishing a concrete holiday schedule is crucial.

Eliminates Disagreements

Planning ahead to establish a custody schedule eliminates a lot of risk for potential disagreements among parents. When each parent can make arrangements for their holiday schedule without as much last-minute stress, things tend to run a lot smoother for both parties.

Makes Children More Secure

Children obtain a much stronger sense of security when they can ensure they’ll spend a substantial amount of time with each parent. Having the opportunity to see relatives on both sides of the family is a highlight for many children during the holidays, and a solid visitation plan ensures they get to do just that.

Best Ways to Establish a Holiday Visitation Schedule

Things like the child’s school schedule and both parents’ work schedules need to be considered to establish a fair plan for everyone. Assuming that neither parent’s work demands require odd hours, there usually are two ways to craft visitations that work the best.

Rotating Holidays

One plan involves rotating holidays based on the year. For example, the mother gets Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve on even-numbered years, and the father receives Christmas and Halloween. The rest of the holidays would get divided accordingly, and the following odd-numbered year, the schedule will flip.

Splitting Holidays

Alternatively, parents may split holidays evenly based on the child’s school schedule. For example, if two weeks are allotted for Christmas, each parent would receive one week apiece. If the holiday break is four days, each parent will take two days.

Assuming no major issues arise and both parents agree, this is the most common situation and seems to be the fairest.


If you and your ex-spouse are having challenges working out a holiday schedule, you should consult your family law attorney. Additionally, now is a good time to begin preparing for 2023 because it can take a few months to establish any changes you want for next year.

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