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'Tis the Season for Strong Holiday Boundaries in Custody Agreements

The holiday season is upon us, and while it's a time of joy and celebration, it can also be a time of stress and conflicts in custody arrangements. Its vital to create robust boundaries in your custody agreements, specifically for holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's.


mom decorating for christmas custody agreement
Setting strong boundaries in your custody agreement ensures your holidays will be full of joy, not stress.

The Importance of Strong Boundaries for Holidays

The holidays are a special time for families, and children cherish the traditions and memories created during this season. Custody agreements should prioritize the well-being of your children while acknowledging the significance of these festive occasions. Strong boundaries in your custody agreement can help reduce stress and conflict for both parents and children.


Key Considerations

  1. Plan Ahead: Start early. Discuss holiday arrangements well in advance and create a comprehensive schedule. Ensure that both parents are on the same page regarding the children's holiday experiences.

  2. Alternating Holidays: Consider alternating holidays each year. For example, if one parent has the children for Thanksgiving in even years, they have them for Christmas in odd years. This way, both parents get to share in the joy of these special occasions.

  3. Special Traditions: Encourage the continuation of family traditions. If your family has a specific tradition for Christmas Eve or a unique Thanksgiving celebration, incorporate these traditions into your agreement.

  4. Flexibility: While strong boundaries are essential, some flexibility can be helpful, especially if unexpected situations arise. Include a provision for minor adjustments or swaps if needed.

  5. Communication: Maintain open and respectful communication with your co-parent. If one parent wants to spend a specific holiday with the children, consider how to accommodate their request in the spirit of cooperation.

  6. Specific Times and Locations: Clearly outline the start and end times for each holiday visitation period, as well as the locations for exchanges. This clarity reduces confusion and potential conflicts.

Sample Custody Agreement Language

Here's an example of language you might include in your custody agreement for Thanksgiving:


"Thanksgiving: The parents shall alternate custody of the children for Thanksgiving each year, with Parent A having custody on even years and Parent B having custody on odd years. The exchange shall occur at [designated location] on the day before Thanksgiving at [specified time]. The parent with custody shall return the children by [specified time] on Thanksgiving Day."


Remember, while this example provide structure, each custody agreement should be tailored to your family's unique needs and circumstances. The goal is to create a holiday plan that prioritizes the best interests of your children while allowing both parents to enjoy these cherished moments.


Setting strong boundaries in your custody agreements for holidays can help create a sense of stability and predictability during a potentially tumultuous time. By planning ahead, communicating openly, and being flexible when necessary, you can ensure that your children have the opportunity to enjoy the magic of the holiday season with both parents.


If you need further guidance or assistance in creating a strong holiday custody agreement, don't hesitate to reach out to a family law attorney. We're here to help you make the holiday season as harmonious and joyful as possible for your family.



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