Whether you’re thinking about the upcoming holidays or want to ensure co-parenting with your ex goes smoother next summer, it pays to plan ahead. You’ll also have a better shot at co-parenting ninja-hood if you and your ex work together and agree on a co-parenting plan that works well for everyone involved.
Ready to start co-parenting like a ninja during upcoming holidays and summer vacations? Consider the following tips.
No. 1: Review your parenting plan and holiday schedule.
If it’s been a few years since your parenting plan and possession schedule were agreed upon, it may be time for an update. Children’s needs, activities and interests can change drastically over time. Schedule time with your ex (and, if necessary, a mediator or parenting coordinator/parenting facilitator) to make adjustments. Once both parties agree to the changes, their respective attorneys can file any necessary paperwork.
If you’re in the process of divorce and need to make plans for an upcoming holiday or vacation, your divorce attorney can explain what the default possession schedule in the Texas Family Code provides and whether a hearing will be necessary to address holiday and vacation plans.
For additional tips, check out our holiday co-parenting infographic.
No. 2: Keep the shared family calendar up to date.
Shared calendars help keep everyone on the same page and are readily available online. Some judges even require parents to use shared calendars, like Our Family Wizard, during the divorce process. However, shared calendars only work when they are accurate, so agree to diligently update the calendar when new events or activities arise. These include the children’s school and extracurricular activities, doctor appointments, family celebrations, birthday parties and other outings, as well as upcoming vacations.
Newly divorced? Check out our back-to-school tips here.
No. 3: Discuss how to handle unforeseen costs and expenses.
Who pays for what should be covered in your parenting plan; however, it isn’t unusual for unexpected events or activities to come up during summer vacation and holiday breaks. For example, say your son is invited to join his best friend and his parents for a weekend ski trip, and they’ll cover all expenses except airfare. You could ask the other parent to split the cost of the flight, or agree that the more affluent parent will pay a larger portion or all of the expense.
No. 4: Be proactive about planning YOUR solo time.
If you’re not used to spending summer vacation or holiday time without your kids, being apart could be difficult for you. To ease the loneliness, schedule activities for yourself while the kids are away. Whether that means reconnecting with old friends, going on vacation, pursuing a new hobby or donating time to a favorite charity, staying busy helps time fly and can be fulfilling as well.
No. 5: Remember, the kids come first.
Splitting children’s holiday and vacation time with another parent can be challenging, especially during and following a high-conflict divorce. To help minimize trauma and maximize enjoyment for your child, try to be as kind and flexible as possible with your ex. This will hopefully encourage him or her to do the same in return. If you find it impossible to co-parent – regarding holidays or otherwise – bring in a mediator or parenting coordinator/parenting facilitator to help sort through any issues. Your family law attorney can make recommendations if you need help finding one.
Christine Powers Leatherberry is a compassionate family lawyer who is equally comfortable in the courtroom as she is counseling her clients one-on-one. To learn more about divorce and child custody in Dallas and Collin Counties, please call
to speak confidentially with a knowledgeable and considerate member of the Connatser Family Law team.