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November 13, 2018

Co-Parenting and the holidays

By: Sara Canepa-Zenuni

The holiday season is fast approaching, and it is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and inspire us to make life better for those around us. To ensure a kid-focused holiday season, a family should obtain the right tools to help them navigate splitting up holidays and upcoming events with a co-parent.

Tips on how parents can collaboratively plan this holiday season:

1) Have a sit down with your co-parent over coffee and discuss your particular plans for the upcoming holidays. Alternatively, put your plans in writing and send them to each other in advance of any discussion.

2) Be humble and flexible with each other's ideas, plans, and timelines.

3) If unable to come to a resolution on holiday time-sharing, agree to fall back on a default schedule. Ideas for a default schedule include:

- Split winter break in half, one parent has parenting contact during the first half that includes Christmas Day and the other parent has the half of the winter break that includes New Year's Day.

- The parent that has the second half of winter break has parenting contact on Christmas Eve. Alternatively, parents can split parenting contact on Christmas Day beginning at noon.

Even though a parent could seek to establish a holiday contact schedule through litigation, the chances that the outcome will benefit the family are slim. Something else to keep in mind is that most holiday issues are unlikely to be deemed an “emergency” by the Court and will therefore not be heard on an expedited basis – the holiday season may pass before a resolution is reached by the Court.

The absolute best solution to time-sharing disputes continues to be that parents to work together. Communication is key. Regardless of what plans are in motion for the holiday season, each parent should strive to maintain an open stream of communication with their co-parent and remind each other that the focus should be on the children.   

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