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Child custody: Avoid focusing only on the major holidays

by | Aug 18, 2017 | Child Custody, Firm News |

Labor Day is around the corner, and who will have the children? When California couples go through a divorce, one or both parents may be overwhelmed with all the details. Sometimes they fall into the trap of considering only the major holidays during child custody negotiations and the drafting of parenting plans.

Once agreements are reached about how Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving and Easter will be allocated, they might consider Labor Day and Halloween, not forgetting Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Many families have traditional manners in which they spend these “lesser” holidays, and abruptly ending those traditions can be traumatic for the children. To create consistency, parents can agree to allocate these holidays in a permanent way, or they can alternate every year — depending on their traditions and other circumstances.

With Labor Day coming around shortly before school starts, it may be helpful if the parent who is responsible for doing back-to-school preparations can have the children around at that time, and there may be specific reasons for a parent to want the children on any of the other days. Ideally, parents can maintain the type of relationship that will allow these days to be spent as families, but that is seldom possible. Whichever method is used to allocate these holidays, keeping the children informed is important so that they know in advance with whom they will spend each of these special days.

California parents who want to make sure all matters are addressed when they negotiate child custody and parenting plans may benefit from seeking the support and guidance of an experienced family law attorney. Parenting plans can be drafted in a way that will allow flexibility but maintain structures for the fair division of time. Proper planning can avoid having to go to court to get the children for a specific holiday.

Source:, “Keep lesser holidays in mind when negotiating parenting time“, Gail Saukas, Accessed on Aug. 17, 2017


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