Negotiating a Parenting Plan that Works Over the Holidays


One of the toughest decisions couples have to make during their divorce negotiations involves decisions regarding child custody and shared parenting time. While this process can be an emotional one, with the guidance of a skilled child custody law firm, you and your former partner can reach an agreement that is in the best interests of your children that works for your family. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC is a child custody law firm in Greenville, South Carolina that handles a range of challenging custody questions. Thinking about drafting a parenting plan for the holidays? Or, do you not yet have a parenting plan in place and need to reach an agreement regarding shared parenting time over the holiday? Here are some things to consider:

  • Think About How Holiday Time Will Be Split. The most common solution for how parenting time will be split is that the parents will alternate time with the children on holidays each year. Some parenting plans clearly note that dad will get the children for Christmas on odd years, while mom will get the children for Christmas on even years. Another option is splitting the holidays in half. One parent can have the children in the morning while the other can have the children in the afternoon and evening. What matters is that you find a plan that works for you and your family.
  • Think About How School Vacations Will Be Divided. Children tend to get time off during the holidays. How will parenting time be split during this time off? It is important to consider how holiday arrangements will conflict with these splits. Most families choose to split the time in half, while others might choose to split the time into thirds. Again, the best solution is the one that will work for your family.
  • Consider Travel Arrangements. Will you be living in the same city and state? Or will you live far apart? Regardless of whether you live close or far, you’ll want to consider travel arrangements for getting your children to and from shared parenting time arrangements.
  • What About Vacations? If one parent wants to plan a vacation with the children, what are the deadlines for notification? Most parenting plans require both parents to let the other know in writing if the children will be traveling over the holidays.
  • Take Into Consideration Special Days and Conflicts. When drafting a parenting plan, you’ll likely have in place an arrangement that clearly outlines which weekends each parent will have time with the children. Or, a parenting plan might specify that the children are always to spend time with one parent on his or her birthday or on some other special occasion. However, when drafting a parenting plan, it is important to consider conflicts that can arise. For example, conflicts can arise if Christmas lands on a weekend where the other parent normally would have the children. A clearly-worded parenting plan can prevent confusion.
  • What Happens if a Parent Needs to Work a Holiday? Another thing to keep in mind is the reality that sometimes parents might be scheduled to work on the holiday. A parenting plan that is thorough and clear can also address these issues. Sometimes the parents might choose to swap holiday days, or make arrangements for the children to spend time with extended family, but whatever the plan, provisions for changes to the regular schedule or for emergencies should also be considered. A parenting plan that includes flexibility is often best.

These are just some of the issues that may need to be addressed when thinking of parenting time, child custody, and holidays. The holidays can be a sensitive time, especially if you’ve recently gotten divorced, or if you’re still working out your parenting plan. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC is a child custody law firm in Greenville, South Carolina that offers compassionate and caring counsel to families facing divorce. With careful negotiation, you and your former spouse can reach a resolution that works for both of you. The reality is that divorce will likely change your holiday traditions. Once your parenting plan has been finalized, it’s up to you to build new traditions with your children with the time you have. Some parents choose to celebrate Christmas on separate days, while others create entirely new holiday traditions. The choice is yours.

Are you going through a separation and do you need to put a temporary holiday parenting plan in place? Any decisions you make could potentially impact your divorce case and your finalized parenting plan. Reach out to the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC, a child custody law firm in Greenville, South Carolina today, or connect with one of our divorce lawyers by contacting

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