The Holidays And Your Custody Agreement


Every parent dreams of sharing Thanksgiving or Christmas with their children. Whether it’s enjoying a day with the family or watching the joy on your children’s faces as they open presents, it’s a special time for any parent.

However, with divorced parents, the holidays can often become contentious, as custody arrangements are worked out ahead of time, and each parent feels like they are a gladiator fighting for the right just to see the kids on a holiday.

How can you make sure your custody agreement reflects a fair settlement when it comes to the holidays?

The Children Always Come First

When it comes to custody and the holidays, it’s important to see things through your child’s point of view. It may be tempting to stick it to your ex because you dislike them so much, but the child loves both parents and wants to have a quality experience with everyone during the holiday season.

Your primary consideration when negotiating a holiday schedule should be minimizing disruption for the children. Be thankful for the time that you get to spend with them, and try for a final agreement that at least attempts to look out for the needs and wishes of all parties. Above all, make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the children.

If your kids are teenagers and are old enough to begin making some basic decisions for themselves, it’s not a bad idea to ask them what they would like to do. They might have some ideas that you can address with your ex. Of course, any change to a visitation schedule should also be discussed with your attorney.

Many Different Arrangements

There are many ways to handle holidays in a custody arrangement. Some of the more typical arrangements include:

  • Alternating holidays: This is perhaps the simplest arrangement. For any given holiday, the parents alternate having the kids each year. If your ex had them for Christmas last year, you get them for Christmas this year. 
  • Half-Day Splits: This arrangement generally works better if both parties live close to each other. Here, the child gets to spend half of each holiday with one parent then switches to the other parent for the other half. Make sure the child doesn’t spend a good chunk of the day in transit, however.
  • Fixed Holidays: Perhaps you are not a Thanksgiving person, but are really big on Christmas Day. It is possible to negotiate fixed holidays where you give up Thanksgiving every year in return for having Christmas every year.


It’s also conceivable that you may want to ask for a holiday outside of the usual routine. If either party makes a special request, don’t just turn it down outright. Consider that being flexible and allowing for some special circumstances is a privilege that will be given back to you when you need it.

Custody And the Holidays

Holidays are so important, so it’s vital that you have a strong negotiator on your team when it comes time to finalize your custody agreement.

If you reside in Henry, Clayton, or Fayette counties, and need help with a custody agreement, contact Family Matters Law Group today. We’ve helped many parents across the Atlanta metro area with their holiday planning. We know how important it is to spend the holidays with your children, and we’ll fight hard to make that happen.

If you’re interested in a consultation, simply call or contact us online. We look forward to meeting you and hearing your story!