As your children grow, you will treasure the precious memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings spent around the tree. When you share custody, however, dividing parenting time over the holidays can sometimes become complicated. 

Try these strategies to make sure that you and your children enjoy smooth sailing when it comes to making holiday plans in cooperation with your co-parent. 

Have a plan 

Your official parenting plan should outline the arrangement for dividing major holidays. If you do not have a legal custody agreement, establishing one will help you protect your rights as a father. You have several common ways of splitting the holidays that you can consider in your agreement: 

  • Alternating each holiday every year (Thanksgiving with dad and Christmas with Mom this year, and vice versa next year) 
  • Having each parent spend half the day with the children, which works well if you live near one another 
  • Allowing each parent to have the holidays most important to him or her each year 

The custody plan should also address the handling of school vacations. Often, the parents split the vacation time or the non-custodial parent has visitation over school breaks. 

Make the most of your time 

You may not have your child on the actual date of the holiday, but you can still celebrate. Plan a special day with family and traditions on an alternate date when your child is with his or her mother on Thanksgiving or Christmas. 

Be ready to compromise 

If your ex asks to switch days because of family obligations, consider her request. Keep in mind that if you are willing to be flexible, your attitude can improve the co-parenting relationship, which is a win for your children. 

Remember that Louisiana courts prefer joint or sole custody with reasonable visitation depending on the child’s best interest. If you feel your current arrangement offers limited time with your kids, you can ask for a modification that addresses school breaks and holidays.