The holiday season is here, and that can bring new challenges for you and your co-parent as you decide how to approach custody. If you do not have a custody order in place through a Florida court, now might be a good time to start the process.
How courts decide on holiday custody time
A custody order covers custody for all times of the year, including holidays. When parents cannot agree on how holiday custody should work, a court decides the custody holiday schedule.
Courts usually order a shared holiday schedule that allows both parents equal time with the children. This can mean splitting a holiday, with one parent having custody in the morning and one in the evening, or one parent having the entire day and alternating years with the other parent.
Even if you have a custody order in place with a holiday schedule set up, co-parenting during the holidays can be complicated. The main thing to remember is that you want your children to have happy holiday memories, no matter whose house they are at and when.
Flexibility and communication are key
Remain flexible. Your custody order might specify a certain holiday schedule, but holiday plans can change yearly. New family members might be visiting, or your child could have special holiday events they didn’t have the year before.
You and your co-parent can modify your custody schedule based on these types of events if you both agree on the change. Make sure to get any change in writing.
Communicate with your co-parent about gift giving. Talk about which gifts each of you will purchase to avoid getting duplicate gifts.
Practice fairness with gifts and events
If your child no longer believes in Santa, do not compete over who is going to purchase the “bigger” gift. You could both split the cost of a large gift and present it to your child as being from both of you.
Use this same approach with holiday events. Although you can always still attend events together, that may not be realistic for your situation. You can split up events, with both of you participating in a separate special event with your child.
Co-parenting during the holidays might never be easy. However, with these tips in mind, you and your children can both have a peaceful and memorable holiday season.