How to Handle Custody During the Holidays

Updated on January 30, 2009
L.C. asks from Dallas, TX
8 answers

Unfortunately, my husband and I are going through a divorce. Everything is settled except how to handle custody during the holidays. I will have primary custody of the kids and will trade off every other Thurs - Sun with my ex. TX state law only addresses Thanksgiving and Christmas and I don't like what it suggests. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle the holidays...Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc. Any help is appreciated!

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answers from Dallas on

My husband has a child from a previous marriage. It happens that her family has always done Christmas on Christmas Eve and we pick him up on Christmas Morning.
We have started doing Thanksgiving the day after. Things like Easter, 4th of July, Halloween... etc. Who ever has him that weekend has him. We have my step son the past 2 4th of July's and Halloween. But we all get along so well that we will celebrate things together, thats usually only if my ex has her step kids.
Good luck! Hope this helps!

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answers from Dallas on


A lot of it will depend on what kind of relationship you have with your soon-to-be ex. If you are willing to do things in the best interest of the children and he is a wonderful father to his children then it makes it so much easier.
With my ex we both remained a part of our daughter's life in everything. We let each one know of any events so we both could attend. Sent copies of report cards, pictures ...etc.

As far as the holidays, especially Christmas, we made it where we could both enjoy her. He would get her when she would get out of school until Christmas morning. That way we would both get part of Christmas and then switched the next year ... The rest we just played by ear, depending on what each one of us had going. It went really great for us and now are daughter has a great relationship with us both (she is now 19 but at the time was only 7). And her father and I still remain friends and have both remarried.

The ultimate result is what is best for your kids. Keep any problems with each other private.

I hope this helps.

Best of luck to you, as I know it can be very difficult.

God Bless, C.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hopefully the 2 of you can have what my ex-husband and I have with our daughter. We work with each other and she has always come first.

However, my husband's ex-wife would never let that happen. We have sole custody of the kids where she has no more visitation and have spend over $100k in the last 4 years to do so out of complete necessity. However, our situation is so unbelievably in the minority it's not even funny and hopefully nowhere near your situation!

My ex husband and I made a pact before we divorced. We said that our daughter will always come first and we will not remarry someone who doesn't understand that. His wife is now a friend, and we have all vacationed together. It may sound odd to some, but we just go with the flow. They both come to my parents house for holidays and even went on our first annual family reunion this year with us.

If they are going out of town to my daughter's stepmom's family for Christmas and want her to go, she goes. If I want her to come with me somewhere, she comes and we just work it out.

I know it sounds impossible, and my ex-husband is a REALLY nice guy, but it is what is best for us and our daughter to be friends. She sometimes hates it because she cannot pull ANYTHING over on us!

As for holidays just don't get wrapped up in quantity of time. Make the time quality and never, ever put your kids in the middle of anything. Never say anything where they can hear, even in passing such as "we would but your dad... fill in the blank." My stepdaughter's mom made them spies and asked them question after question and blamed my husband for everything. It really messes kids up. Not saying you will do this, because it sounds like you two have things worked out and are going to do fine!

Good luck, and I wish you the best. Divorce is so hard!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I can speak to you as a child of divorce, rather than as a parent who has gone through it. It depends on your relationship with your ex and if you can both put the kids first. My parents divorced when I was 10 - dad never re-married so there was never a "new wife" issue with him. (Mom's a whole other story!). Mom's parents were very involved (dad's had passed away before I was born), and they had a good relationship with Dad as well. He was included in ALL holidays that were celebrated, and was even invited over to my grandparents to celebrate HIS birthday. I don't really remember stuff like the 4th of July - I think they worked out the "minor" holidays to fit the schedule of whoever wanted to do something on those days.

Just put the kids first - don't spoil them, but don't treat them like they're not part of the situation, because they ARE. RESPECT is the key all the way around. How you and your ex relate to each other and to them will teach them LOADS about life and relationships. An amicable divorce can teach them a lot of good things, and a miserable marriage can teach them a lot of bad things.



answers from Dallas on

I am sorry to hear about your divorce. All I can say is try and be nice to each other. The final decree is just there for you if you can't agree. My ex and I do our own thing. It is just what works for us. Christmas and Thanksgiving are the one's we really deal with. My ex only has our son 1st,3rd and 5th weekends...he doesn't do the Thursday to school on Monday. Most of the time my son wants to come home early and my ex doesn't seem to mind. I am lucky in some respects because I can do just about whatever I want....but on the other hand I wish my ex would be more involved with our son. I think he is really missing out. Just take a deep breath and always put what the children need first.



answers from Dallas on

Is Dad getting her every other or 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of each month?
If Dad is getting them every other weekend, then you will automatically get your daughter every other year on those holidays.
If Dad is set up with the standard 1st, 2nd & 3rd weekends then you will not have your daughter on Labor Day and Memorial day weekends if you leave it set up that way.
For my divorce, my ex started dating very soon after our divorce and I started getting my daughter allot more than the standard divorce decree...which was totally fine with me.
I would say that you can probably have spring break and Easter rotated. Besides that, I don't think the courts will want to specify Labor Day and Memorial....but I am not a lawyer so I could be wrong.
The courts expect that the parents will have their child's best interest at heart and be able to work out little details like Labor Day and Memorial Day. I don't neccessarily agree...if it were that easy then we may not have gotten divorced in the first place! lol



answers from Dallas on

I always have my son for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning for Santa. My ex picks him up very early and then takese him to his family's celebration. This has worked for us so far. After Santa is no longer this could change. As long as you and your husband can work together you don't have to go by the decree exactly. However, I was told if we have problems with the arrangements we orally agree upon then we must follow the decree. As for Thanksgiving we alternate years. Labor Day, Memorial Day etc....we just go by whomever has him that weekend or if either of us have special plans then we respectively ask the other if we can have that weekend. Easter is the same as well. We always make sure that our birthdays we have our son. Honestly, we try to work things out. So far no problems and it has been 2 years. My son's b-day is Christmas so our arrangement works well for us. We both get to have him on his birthday. Plus we celebrate his birthday on other days throughout the month with our individual families and his friends. He doesn't hurt for our attention.

Right now we don't use the Wednesday night visitation that is in our decree. This could change I suppose as my son gets older but for the time being we just do every other weekend on a normal basis and if either of us need the other to help out on other weekends we work it out. My ex comes to most all sporting events including practices. We just learned to work our differences out for our son's sake. Not saying it is perfect but it is workable and pleasant enough for our son. He is a happy well adjusted kid. :-)

Goodluck! I promise it gets easier.



answers from Dallas on

Christmas we get her on the day school lets out until the day after Christmas one year. The following year we get her the day after Christmas until the day before she goes back to school. Same with Thanksgiving.
Spring Break we get her every other year the entore break.
ALl other holidays - If it is our weekend and she is out of school for the holiday we keep her on that day.
Durning the summer we get her 1/2 of each month.
Good Luck. It isn't any fun trying to figure these things out.

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