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3 tips for amicably sharing holidays and vacations as co-parents

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Child Custody

Holidays and school vacations are an opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their children and to balance out a custody arrangement that might otherwise be uneven. School vacations and major holidays require advance planning so that parents can arrange for childcare or travel.

Those preparing for custody negotiations or updating a parenting plan in Texas may want to review the three tips below to minimize the conflict that they could face when scheduling parenting time for holidays and school breaks.

Don’t miss the summer vacation deadline

A non-custodial parent usually has the right to at least 30 consecutive days with their children during the summer. If parents live more than a hundred miles apart, then a non-custodial parent should receive 42 days of continual parenting time. A non-custodial parent usually needs to commit to a specific date for when they will take their time with their children by April 1st that year. Otherwise, the state defaults to a specific arrangement. A parent entitled to 30 days would typically receive parenting time for the entire month of July. A parent entitled to 42 days has a standard right to parent between June 15th and July 27th.

Be realistic about holidays

Special days including birthdays, national holidays and religious festivals can be very meaningful for families. Parents may, therefore, need to think carefully about how they intend to address these special days. Some families can alternate parenting arrangements, allowing one parent to celebrate a holiday with the children the first year and then the other parent to spend that same holiday with the children the next year. Other families may be able to split the holidays and birthdays, with the child spending half of the day with each parent. Some parents can even plan shared family celebrations if conflict levels are low.

Communicate about gifts and travel

Taking the children to an amusement park could be a magical experience, but not if they previously visited the same park with their other parent just a few weeks prior. Birthdays and holidays can also present co-parenting pitfalls in the form of gift-giving expectations. While those spending special days with children may want to go above and beyond regarding travel plans and gift-giving, it is usually best to communicate intentions with the other parent. Adults can cooperate to purchase higher-value gifts in some cases or can avoid duplicating travel plans and gifts.

Adults who understand the rules that govern shared custody arrangements and who plan ahead of time for the holidays may find it easier to successfully co-parent. Putting children first often means planning proactively to limit conflict about parenting arrangements.