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Who Gets the Children for Christmas?  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! For those who are divorced and have children, the holiday season may bring extra stress. Who’s getting the children on which holidays? And, for how long will each parent have with the children? What happens if I need the children during my ex’s parenting time? You may have these questions and more, especially if this is your first holiday season as a divorced parent. 

What Does Your Divorce Decree Say? 

Whether or not you get the children for Christmas will depend on what your divorce decree says. While most parenting plans order parents to switch off every other year, your divorce decree may say something different. Before making plans this holiday season, it’s a good idea to review your divorce decree to verify that your plans will work out as you had planned. Not only should you verify your plans with your divorce decree, you should also verify your plans with your ex to reduce drama and/or confusion. If you do not understand what’s written in your divorce decree, you  need to speak with an attorney regarding your parenting plans. Divorce decrees are court-ordered, meaning that you must follow them as they’re written. If you do not have a divorce decree yet, there may not be an order regarding holiday arrangements. In this case, you will need to discuss the holiday plans with your attorney. 

Negotiating Parent-Time 

If the divorce decree says that your ex gets the kids during Christmas, then you need to allow your children to go with their ex for Christmas. While parents are expected to follow the parenting plan as outlined in the divorce decree, there is room for negotiation if both parties agree to it. For example, if you have a big trip planned for Thanksgiving, but your ex has Thanksgiving this year, you may be able to negotiate an arrangement where you get the children for Thanksgiving in exchange for giving your ex additional parent-time during Christmas. However, it should be noted that your ex is under no obligation to negotiate parenting time with you. 

Cooperating with Your Ex 

In many cases, cooperation breeds cooperation. If your ex needs a little extra parenting time this holiday season, it may be a good idea to grant their request in exchange for additional parenting time later on. While you are under no obligation to make accommodations for your ex, granting reasonable requests can help ensure that the holiday season goes off much more smoothly for you and your children.  For a lot of people, the holiday season is a time of stress and deadlines. Cooperating with your ex when it comes to parent-time accommodations can help reduce and even eliminate unnecessary stress and drama for you and the rest of your family. 

Remember, It’s for the Children 

When it comes to the holiday season, a lot of parents get so wrapped up in gift-giving, traditions, events, and gatherings, and they forget that the children are the ones who really matter. Even really young children can sense tension between their parents, and this can cause the children to become stressed and overwhelmed. This can happen even when parents are trying their hardest not to get emotional in front of their children. If you’re struggling this holiday season, having a self-care day may allow you to let go of some of the stress and tension that’s been building up over the past few weeks. It can also help you let go of some of the negative emotions for your ex that may have been making it difficult for you to cooperate with them. 

Tips for the Holiday Season  

Keeping the magic in Christmas isn’t easy, especially when you’re divorced or going through a divorce. However, it is possible. For many couples, this means working together with their ex in order to ensure the holiday season goes off smoothly. Not only will you need to coordinate plans, you may also need to coordinate gifts in order to ensure that your child doesn’t get duplicate gifts or doesn’t get gifts that the other parent would not approve of. Being flexible about scheduling and gifts may also help ensure that your children don’t feel unnecessary stress and tension between their parents. 

When You Need Help with Family Law Issues 

If you need help with family law issues, CoilLaw is here for you. At CoilLaw our attorneys are dedicated to helping you advocate for your best interests and protect your family. If you need legal advice, contact CoilLaw today for an initial consultation. 


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