Keeping the Holidays Enjoyable With Your New Co-Parent

Mackenzie O. Bretz Edmonds Lawyer

If it’s your first holiday season as new co-parents or if you’re a seasoned vet, you understand that holidays can be an emotional time if handled incorrectly. The drafting of your family law orders to how you communicate with your co-parent can all influence your celebrations.

Communicating With Your Children if it’s Age Appropriate

Communicate with your children about how the holidays will commence, especially if it’s the first holiday season after a separation. This will provide them with some stability and understanding. The structure will give them a moment to embrace their new normal and feel more comfortable. While they may not feel entirely secure during their first holiday after separation, giving them some clarity can make their experience smoother. One way to help ensure a happy holiday is to prioritize your children and put feelings about your co-parent to the side.

Use A Co-Parenting App

Many co-parenting apps can make communication more streamlined. The app can also assist with scheduling by utilizing the in-app calendar. A shared visual reminder can make miscommunication regarding parenting time far and few between. Additionally, if you have an issue with your co-parent, many of the apps allow an attorney to access your messages for easy use in a motion.

Some apps include OurFamilyWizard, TalkingParents, coParenter, etc.

Give Yourself Grace

The holidays are not an easy time for either parent post-separation. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for the perfect holiday or an over-the-top celebration. Your children want to spend time and be present with you, and making sure your mental health and stress are under control can help facilitate that. Even during this busy season, carve out time to do things that make you feel good. Whether that’s working out or engaging in a relaxing hobby – make the time for it. When you can relax and destress, you can be a more present parent.

Detailed Orders Reduce Conflict

If you’re still working through final orders with your soon-to-be co-parent, remember that details help reduce conflict and stress in the future. Leaving a section of your parenting plan ambiguous to interpret in the future can lead to bigger issues. The specificity of your orders should be a priority even if you have a communicative relationship.

One of the most common timeshare arrangements involves parents trading holidays every year. If mom had kids on Christmas Eve this year, and dad gets Christmas Day, the following year, mom, and dad would switch it up. Do the same for all the holidays you’ve acknowledged in the parenting plan and avoid splitting a holiday if you can. Cutting a holiday in half is not enjoyable for your kids and leaving early from one family event to arrive late at another can be unenjoyable.

Channel Frustration into Documentation

If one parent is consistently disregarding the rules of the parenting plan, dropping off the children late, or just ignoring your attempts to communicate, document it. Document by marking late arrivals on your calendar or saving screenshots of your attempts to communicate. Giving yourself an easily accessible paper trail will allow you to have good evidence if you need to file a motion for contempt or enforcement of a child support order or parenting plan.

Overall, take time to soak up the good moments with your children, your friends, and your family. The new year will be here in the blink of an eye, and holidays especially with young children only last for so long. If your co-parent continues to make things difficult for you, contact a family law attorney at Beresford Booth to assess how the issue can be better addressed.

To learn more about Keeping the Holidays Enjoyable With Your New Co-Parent, please contact Beresford Booth at or by phone at (425) 776-4100.

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