Plan for holidays while drafting your parenting agreement

Your parenting plan should be clear and concise with regard to certain topics that could explode into a co-parenting nightmare after your divorce. While you do want to provide a certain amount of flexibility in your parenting agreement, it may be better to make permanent arrangements for issues like holiday planning in advance of signing your divorce settlement.

When planning for how you will divide your holidays, here are a few points to consider:

Where do both parents live?

If your spouse lives overseas or across the country, and you are the custodial parent -- meaning the children live with you -- holidays are a great way for you to share parenting time with your ex. This way, your children can maintain a meaningful bond and relationship with him or her. Consider allowing your children to spend an extended period of time living with your ex during summer break and try to share spring break, winter break and important holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas in a way that's fair.

How will you share long weekends?

Three-day weekends and holiday weekends can be divided evenly among the parents. These are great moments for either parent to spend a good amount of quality time with the children and even take a short trip. You may want to include guidelines in your parenting plan for identifying special occasions and sharing school holidays that you won't know about until the beginning of each school year.

How will you share important holidays?

If you and your family celebrate special holidays each year -- like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Ramadan, Father's Day, Mother's Day, Hanukkah and others -- you'll want to make a plan for how you'll share them with your ex. You might designate a specific holiday to a specific parent. Perhaps, each year, Christmas will be spent with Mom, for example. Or, maybe you'll alternate who has the child for that holiday on an annual basis.

When you carefully plan for future holidays in a way that equally and fairly honors both parents' wishes to spend time with their children, you will avoid the chances of a co-parenting conflict later down the road.

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