How parents can effectively handle special days when sharing custody

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Child Custody

Parents often have a hard time accepting the transition to sharing parental rights and responsibilities. Those who divorce or separate have to find a way to their children’s needs across two separate households. The division of parenting time between the adults in the family can be a source of anguish for those adults. People grieve the time that they lose with their children and want to see them as much as possible.

That is true on a day-to-day basis, but it is especially true on special days where children may form lifelong memories. Holidays and birthdays are typically very special days for children, especially children who have gone through a painful experience recently. How can parents sharing time with their children effectively address birthdays and holidays in their parenting plan?

Every family can come up with unique arrangements

There is no one set solution for sharing custody on special days that works for every family situation. Many families start with an alternating schedule. Children spend their birthday with one parent and then spend it with the other parent the next year.

A similar solution can work for holidays. Parents can alternate the holidays throughout the year and then have the other holidays the next year. Those arrangements help give parents one-on-one bonding time with their children on special days while reducing the likelihood of the parents getting into arguments that could turn a special day into a source of bitter memories rather than happy ones.

Other times, parents might agree to each share time with the children on holidays and birthdays. There are several ways to accomplish that goal. One parent could spend the morning with the children while the other one spends the afternoon and evening with them. The children could spend Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with the other. In cases involving lower levels of parental conflict, it might even be possible to coordinate celebrations. That way, the children have both of their parents and any other family members all together to celebrate with on birthdays and holidays.

Parents need to be realistic about what type of arrangements may work for their families. They may also need to be open-minded about modifying or adjusting arrangements if their current solution is less than optimal. Finding reasonable ways to handle challenging co-parenting matters can make all the difference for those adjusting to shared custody. Parents who center their children in custody related decisions can potentially create more effective arrangements than those who focus on themselves or their anger toward their co-parents.

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