Parenting Time Schedule: The Holidays

Divorce is never an easy process, especially when you have children to consider. Parents going through a divorce can ensure the best for their children by creating and committing to a parenting plan. Creating a co-parenting schedule will allow you to make the most of the holidays with your kids.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan outlines the plan for separated or divorced parents to care for their shared children. It can be written together by the parents with a mediator or ordered by the court.  It discusses the different responsibilities of raising children and decision-making on their behalf. It can also include how to share time and expenses for the children.  Both parents must agree on a parenting plan, or the court will decide.  One of the important parts of the parenting plan is the Holiday Schedule.

Three Types of Post-Divorce Co-Parenting

There are many ways to co-parent, and while not every co-parenting relationship is the same, they generally fall into three categories:

  1. Parallel Co-Parenting is the most common type of co-parenting relationship. Parents have low conflict, little communication, and minimal emotional engagement. The two households function independently, and the way children are raised can often be inconsistent.
  2. Conflicted Co-Parenting occurs when the two parents experience frequent conflict, poor communication, and emotionally charged fights. Conflicted co-parenting can be harmful to a child’s growth.
  3. Cooperative Co-Parenting is the ideal co-parenting relationship. In this relationship, both parents plan, coordinate, and schedule together, often supporting one another in the challenges of parenting. There is little to no conflict in a cooperative co-parenting relationship, and both parents have set healthy boundaries.

How do Divorced Parents Share TheHolidays?

Divorced parents have several methods for dealing with holidays when it comes to their shared children. Some parents split the same holidays.  This means that children spend equal time with both parents on a holiday. For example, they may spend 8 hours with one parent and 8 hours with another. The most common way that divorce parents do this is by having a child spend the morning with one parent and the evening with the other.

Others create an alternating holiday schedule, having children spend certain holidays with one parent and the rest with the other. The following year, they may switch the holidays. This arrangement is typical for parents who don’t live close enough to split holiday hours evenly.

In some cases, one parent may always have one holiday while the the other parent always has a different holiday.  This is common when there are set holiday traditions the parents want to keep intact.  For example, Christmas Eve is always with Mother’s extended family and Easter or Passover is always with Father’s extended family.

Depending on your custody agreement, your holiday co-parenting schedule may look different. In the end, it’s about what is best for your children.

Download our Divorce Preparation Checklist

If you and your spouse are considering divorce but want a mutual, friendly, and respectful process, you may consider mediation. Mediation is often better for children, as you do not have to go to court or use lawyers. Instead, both parents work together to reach an agreement that is best for everyone.

With nearly two decades of experience in divorce, Affordable Mediation offers a blended approach to divorce mediation. Our style is to approach divorce mediation using a counseling lens, with the aim of having families emerge from a divorce better than they were before.

Download our free Divorce Mediation Preparation Checklist to learn more about divorce mediation. And if you are ready to hire a mediator, call us at 602-714-7447.