Managing Custody Over the Holiday Season

The holidays are a time to relax, celebrate, and spend time with loved ones. It’s also a time when custody and co-parenting can become complicated. Most often, custody orders specifically state which parent has custody during the holidays. As life progresses, a schedule update may be necessary to fit the needs of the child or parents involved. 

Did you know that in Florida, custody is supposed to be split 50/50 over the holidays? Splitting time evenly can be difficult for parents during November to January festivities. Even if the parents have a good relationship, scheduling can become challenging when loved ones are in town and there are family traditions in place. Here are some ways to make the best of the holiday season while abiding by agreements and avoiding conflict.

Hash Out the Details Early

Starting early is key to planning out the most wonderful time of the year. Working out a holiday schedule starts with the court-ordered schedule and can be changed based on what holidays are most important to whom. While a detailed plan is helpful, it’s also important to remain flexible for the sake of your child making the best holiday memories with both parents. It’s always best to seek legal counsel anytime you wish to amend court orders, including parenting agreements.

Split the Holidays

It’s understandable that one would want to see their child a little on each holiday. Festivities could be split up between morning and night. They could also be split up by days, like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Ultimately, it is important that your child does not feel stressed when having to move between houses. It is also vital to understand that you still have to continue paying child support, even if you have your child more over the holiday season. Funding Christmas presents is not an excuse to stop paying your court-ordered child support.

Alternate Holidays

Rather than having your child jump from house to house over a matter of days or weeks, alternating even and odd years can help minimize stress. Thanksgiving could be for dad, while Christmas could be for mom, and then exchange holidays the next year. This allows everyone to be on the same page and have a common understanding that sets a mutually agreed holiday to avoid resentment and hard feelings.

Have Open Communication

Divorce is stressful for kids, even if they are old enough to choose which holidays they want to spend with each parent. Communication is key when it comes to co-parenting. It’s important to talk with your children about the upcoming holidays to ensure they’re comfortable with travel, custody, and time at home.

The Law Office of Joseph Cerino understands the importance of navigating holiday custody. Co-parenting does not have to be overly stressful if both parents are committed to planning out their schedules and can come together to reach an agreement where both parties are held responsible. Do you need help in navigating divorce, co-parenting, and a holiday schedule? The Law Office of Joseph Cerino is here for you. Give us a call at 239.561.2820 or visit our website at to learn more.

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The law office of Joseph Cerino handles all matters of litigation, concentrating in family law including divorce, custody, child support, paternity, alimony, property division and domestic violence, as well as, criminal defense and appeals in Southwest Florida.

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