Personal Representation For Your
Family Law Or Criminal Defense Matter

Managing holidays and vacations in shared custody agreements

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Child Custody

Handling holidays and vacations in shared custody arrangements can be challenging but is necessary for maintaining a balanced family dynamic.

Parents must work together to ensure that both parents and children enjoy these special times without unnecessary stress.

Early planning

Start planning for holidays and vacations well in advance. This approach allows both parents to coordinate their schedules and make any necessary adjustments. Early planning also helps to set expectations and reduce conflicts as the dates approach. It is often helpful to alternate holidays each year or split the holiday time so each parent has an opportunity to make lasting memories with their children.

Clear communication

Clear and consistent communication is paramount. Parents should discuss and agree upon the specifics of each holiday and vacation period. This includes the dates, travel plans and any activities planned during the time. Using written agreements or digital calendars can help keep both parties informed and minimize misunderstandings.


While it is important to have a structured plan, flexibility can be just as necessary. Life is unpredictable, and last-minute changes can happen. Being willing to adjust plans for the sake of the children’s best interests can make all the difference in maintaining a positive co-parenting relationship.

Creating new traditions

After a divorce or separation, many families find that old holiday traditions may need to be adjusted or new ones created. Encourage children to be part of forming new traditions that include both parents, even if when you celebrate at different times. This inclusion can help children feel secure and valued in both homes.

Keeping the focus on the children

The primary goal of managing holidays and vacations should be the well-being of the children. This means keeping them out of any disputes and making sure they feel loved and cared for by both parents, regardless of the custody arrangement. It is beneficial for children to see their parents working together to manage time effectively and fairly.

Managing holidays and vacations in shared custody agreements does not have to be a source of conflict. Following these tips helps children feel stable and supported as they celebrate special occasions with both parents.

FindLaw Network
  • badge1-ppc
  • badge2-ppc
  • badge3-ppc
  • badge4-ppc
Photo Of Attorney Renee Lynn Wagenaar