Making the Holidays Less Stressful as a Co-Parent

The holiday season is meant to be a cheerful time of year. Neighbors have their lights up and there’s a bit of joy in the air to be shared with loved ones. But, for many, this cheer and opportunity to get closer to family members turns to stress and divisive challenges.

Co-parents, in particular, are faced with unique challenges during the holiday season. All of the cheer can be overshadowed by the stress of navigating split time, juggling visitation schedules, and the desire to uphold family traditions—all the while ensuring their children enjoy the festive spirit. So, what can you do in your co-parenting plan to make the holidays smoother?

Have a Plan and Stick To It

One of the key mistakes co-parents can make during the holiday season is waiting until the last second to communicate plans. While most co-parents operate within the framework of a court-ordered visitation schedule, the fluidity of the holiday season often requires certain adjustments.

Whether it’s family traditions or travel plans, it’s crucial to communicate openly and in advance. First of all, this ensures that any deviations from the standard schedule are mutually agreed upon, and second, it provides consistency, clarity, and stability for everyone involved. A last-minute change isn’t just inconvenient; it can amplify stress and throw coal into the holiday plans.

Prioritize Your Children

It’s all too easy for parents to design their plans around their own personal needs and desires during the holidays, especially when two entirely different families are involved. However, it’s essential to remember that California family courts prioritize the child’s best interests – and so should you.

The holiday season, from a child’s perspective, is a tapestry of emotions, wonder, and family bonding. Therefore, as co-parents, making certain sacrifices to protect their holiday experiences is vital. Not only does this foster stronger bonds with loved ones, but it can also reflect favorably in any future court considerations, especially when contrasted with the other co-parent who might be making selfish decisions this time of year.


None of this is possible without the most crucial element: communication. We noted above that having a plan and sticking to it is imperative, and that’s not possible without communication. 

As challenging as it might be to maintain a dialogue with an ex-spouse or partner, remember that you share a common goal: ensuring your child’s happiness and well-being. Active communication takes precedence when making logistical arrangements. It’s about understanding your child’s wishes, sharing any financial concerns, and collaboratively resolving any challenges that might arise. The foundation of co-parenting rests on two mature adults discussing and strategizing for the best outcomes for their child.

Talk to a California Family Law Attorney After the Holidays

While the holidays are a period of heightened emotions, it’s worth noting that seeking an emergency order during this time without any impending physical or emotional threat to your child is nearly impossible. Changing California family court orders for the holidays needs to be done at least six months in advance in most cases.

If you want changes to your child custody arrangement in 2024 or at least a smoother holiday schedule next year, it’s important to get a jumpstart in the new year. At KL Family Law, we understand the importance of the holidays for California families. Contact our offices in Huntington Beach, California, to get started on your 2024 child custody adjustments sooner rather than later.

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KL Family Law

At KL Family Law, we understand that your primary concern is the well-being of your children. We strive to offer tailored solutions for your family law needs and help you move forward through this difficult transition.

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