Planning arrangements for your children during the holidays can be challenging and can sometimes cause conflict. While spending as much time as possible with our children during the holidays would be ideal, but when parents are divorced, this time of year will take additional planning and cooperation. Parents can determine their holiday schedules for themselves, which is the best situation.

If both parents agree on holiday schedules that work for everyone, the court will accept that decision. The schedule can be for one holiday season, the entire year, or multiple years. It can be formalized in a written agreement, which will also provide a reference instead of relying on memories. It can also be entered as a court order once both agree.

Another alternative is to have a verbal agreement if both parents are comfortable with that. Counselors, attorneys, or mediators can help if you need some help having difficult conversations. It can be helpful to have a third person involved in this situation – someone to help parents arrive at those terms. If parents are unable or unwilling to agree on holiday arrangements, the court can make the decision. It is their job to make decisions, including parenting decisions.

Unfortunately, the arrangements may not be what parents or children would like. A judge’s decision is not based on what either parent wants or thinks should happen, but what the judge believes is in the child’s best interests. Another thing to consider is how much your children should know about the holiday arrangements. When it comes down to it, your children should know what the schedule will be over the holidays. When they know what to expect, they will be less disappointed. Of course, the amount of detail you share will depend on their age and maturity level. Regardless of how the holiday schedule came to be, the decision is for their best interest.

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