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Why co-parents need a comprehensive holiday schedule

If you and your spouse are in the process of negotiating your child custody agreement, it's essential to include holidays. Most parents focus on the "big" holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's because the kids are out of school, and those holidays tend to involve family gatherings. However, it's essential to look at the entire calendar.

There are a lot of holidays throughout the year. Some may be more important to one parent than another. However, the more comprehensive your holiday custody schedule is, the fewer conflicts and complications you'll have later on.

If a holiday is particularly important to one parent (such as Mother's Day or Father's Day), you may want to designate that this parent will have the kids on that date -- even when it's not their designated time with them. If a holiday is important to both parents, like Thanksgiving, you may want the kids to split the holiday period between your two homes. If you don't live close enough to do that, perhaps you can alternate years.

Don't forget birthdays. Certainly, you should plan for where the kids will be on their birthdays and determine whether you'll celebrate them together or not. You may also want to plan for your own birthdays if you want your kids around (or would prefer that your co-parent take them so you can have a birthday celebration with friends).

When parents put a thorough holiday custody schedule in place, kids have the important reassurance of knowing where they'll be on those days. Parents can also help their kids prepare to spend time with their other parent and plan holiday celebrations before or after the actual day.

A holiday schedule also helps parents make plans for themselves if they know they won't have the kids. Instead of feeling depressed because the kids will be with your co-parent between Christmas and New Year's, you can plan a getaway to Bermuda.

Whether you're crafting your initial child custody agreement or have decided after the most recent holiday season that the one you have needs some modifications, your attorney can help you work out a schedule that meets your family's needs.

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