Co-Parenting Over the Holidays: What You Need to Know

As the winter holidays approach, it’s important to start thinking about what you can do to make co-parenting easier on yourself and your children. Sharing parenting responsibilities is rarely easy, especially during this time of year when quality time becomes especially important. For this reason, it can be extremely beneficial for parents to plan ahead in order to find a parenting plan that works for everyone this holiday season.

In order to make the most of your holiday season with your children, follow these simple tips to co-parent smoothly and fairly.

Create a Plan

When it comes to creating a parenting plan for the holidays, the most important thing you can do is create a set schedule with your co-parent. Plan a day for the two of you to get together and discuss your upcoming holiday plans and your custody arrangement. If possible, plan out your holidays well in advance, that way your children have a clear idea of how their time will be spent when they ask. Planning ahead of time can also help make things easier and less hectic for you, especially if you have a lot planned. If you and your ex are unable to communicate without arguing, consider setting up a plan via email, or ask your attorney about mediation to create a temporary schedule change for the holidays.

Be Flexible

The more you compromise, the more likely your ex is to follow suit. Try giving a little to get a little, it could go a long way to improve communication between the two of you, not just this season but each season hereafter.


You are unlikely to get everything you want this holiday season, so be prepared to prioritize your must-have days with your children. Is Christmas day more important to you, or is Christmas Eve? Think about what time is the most crucial, and negotiate with your ex from there.

Think Long-Term

It can be tempting to want it all now, but being patient can pay off in the long run and it will undoubtedly make negotiating with your ex easier. Instead of focusing on all of the time with your children that you want this year, try thinking about what you can do on a long-term basis to make co-parenting easier. For example, maybe trading off for Christmas day each year will be easier for your children than trying to split the day in half. Remember, you and your ex will need to co-parent for years to come, so finding a solution that works for both of you can make communication and cooperation much easier.

Parenting is always a challenging, but co-parenting after a separation or divorce has its own set of challenges, especially over the holidays. While these tips can help to make things easier, sometimes legal intervention is the only answer. If you are dealing with a child custody issue, our firm is prepared to help you seek a parenting plan modification.

Need help with your parenting plan? Contact Sutton & Janelle, PLLCto discuss your options with our experienced Berkeley family law and divorce attorneys.