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How do you manage parenting time on special occasions?

If you and your child’s other parent are sorting out how you’ll co-parent your children now that you’re no longer a couple, you’ll need to tackle the subject of how holidays and other special occasions will be managed. This issue can be addressed both in your parenting time schedule and your broader parenting time plan.  

Your parenting time schedule can detail when your child will be with each parent on holidays and special occasions. Your parenting plan can account for any special considerations that you’ll want to ensure are legally enforceable regarding holidays and special occasions. 

Timing is important

Your parenting time schedule will serve as a critically important element of your broader child custody order. It will give you and your co-parent a legally-enforceable venue in which to outline when your child will reside with each of you. 

When it comes to holidays and other special occasions – like birthdays – it is generally a good idea to structure your child’s time so that they have the opportunity to build memories and traditions with both parents. 

Some families find that switching off major holidays every other year works well. Others reserve certain holidays for one parent and others for one parent. Sometimes, a unique arrangement serves everyone’s needs best. 

Special considerations

Just as you’ll want to take your child’s unique needs – as well as your co-parent’s and your own – into account when determining the special occasion provisions of your parenting time schedule, you’ll also want to account for any special considerations in your broader plan. These terms will be legally-enforceable, so make sure to be thoughtful when drafting them. 

You can address virtually any co-parenting expectations that are important to you in this plan. For example, you may want to specify that if either parent throws their child a birthday party to which more than three peers are invited, the other parent is also invited to be part of the celebration. 

By thinking through special occasions in advance in these ways, you’ll better ensure that holidays and good memories may be enjoyed by all.