Of all the stressful periods that family law attorneys help their clients through, holiday time can be among the most difficult, especially for divorced couples who are co-parenting their children.

Child custody agreements usually include planning for holidays, but those agreements can still be a challenge once holiday time rolls around.

You want the holiday season to be one of warmth and security for your children because long after they've forgotten about the gifts they received, they will remember how they feltduring the season.

These attorney tips for how to best manage the holidays while co-parenting can help.

Plan, Communicate and Be Flexible

Starting with the child custody agreement, additional holiday planning should happen early, then be confirmed as the days draw closer to special gatherings and holiday arrangements.

Ex-spouses who are co-parenting should communicate freely to create a holiday schedule and be willing to compromise.

Family law attorneys advise their clients to expect the unexpected and be prepared to roll with the punches

The holidays are emotionally charged in the best of times and for families in crisis, they are a veritable minefield.

If or when there's a showdown with your ex or a meltdown by one of your kids, don't over react; disengage from these situations and find your center.

Remember to keep the needs, wants, and happiness of the kids in mind when planning for holiday visits, buying presents, opening presents, and where school break time will be spent. 

Balance Participation With Extended Family

Extended family at holiday time can be a blessing and a curse, having lots of extended family around during this festive time can enhance a child's sense of security and longing as long as you make sure that you set the tone.

The main stipulation pointed out by family law attorneys is to spend time with supportive family who can help parents and their kids make the best of a co-parenting situation as opposed to contributing to tension by bad-mouthing ex-spouses, which is a big no-no at the holidays.

Along these lines, try to be gracious to your former in-laws as they are your children's grandparents.

A part of this balance should also be taking some time for yourself to avoid the burnout that can happen during stressful family times because you can't keep your kids upright when you're fatigued and falling apart.

Avoid Letting Bad Feelings Get In The Way

As hard as it may be, do your best to avoid letting any bad feelings for exes, in-laws, and anyone else get in the way of the goal of providing a stress-free holiday for your kids.

This is one of the most important tips that family law attorneys can stress to those who are co-parenting, as letting those feelings take over can negatively affect things not just for the kids, but also for yourself.

Remember the reason for the season and take steps to be the better person and keep the peace.

Use Traditions - New And Old

Traditions are a big part of the holidays for many families and breaking tradition can be stressful, especially for kids.

Many attorneys recommend to their clients that a good workaround is to keep some of the old family traditions in your holiday planning so that kids know that life does go on.

Where the need to be flexible to go along with the child custody agreement arises, make new holiday traditions that can still bring smiles and create the feeling of love and warmth, encouraging children to approach new experiences with an open mind.

Holiday Happiness Is Possible When Co-Parenting

Co-parenting with an ex-spouse can be challenging, as every family law attorney knows.

Still, for parents of children who are dependent on the adults around them, compromise and communication while working with child custody agreements at holiday time are essential.

In the effort of keeping the holidays about the kids and family in general, family law attorneys stress keeping the focus on creating a warm and secure feeling when dealing with exes, in-laws, extended family, and all the flexibility that will require.

It is the feeling of the holidays that kids remember most, long after those special days have passed.

Schreier & Housewirth Family Law

1800 West Bowie Street, Suite 200-E
Fort Worth TX 76110


Gregory L. Housewirth is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist practicing in Fort Worth Texas. With 30 years of family law experience, Mr. Housewirth has represented hundreds of clients in divorce, custody, CPS, modification, and grandparent cases. In addition, Mr. Housewirth is a qualified family law mediator and a member of Collaborative Law Texas, a practice group dedicated to promoting collaborative divorce in Texas.