How Do the Holidays Impact My Visitation Schedule?

by | Dec 11, 2023 | Child Custody & Visitation, Child Support, Divorce

The holiday season can be a time of joy and celebration, but for divorced or separated parents in California, it can also pose challenges when it comes to navigating visitation schedules.

Unfortunately, it’s also the seasons of visitation and custody disputes and many of these disputes are entirely avoidable by understanding the way a custody and visitation schedule ordered by the Court functions.

While regular visitation schedules are established to maintain a sense of stability, holidays bring unique considerations that require flexibility and cooperation between parents.

Most often, the issues we see stem from either a lack of communication and/or late communications which may jam up or otherwise impact holiday plans.

To this extent, communication between co-parents is crucial, especially during the holiday season. Clear and open dialogue can help address concerns, coordinate schedules, and ensure that both parents have meaningful and frequent contact with their children. Being flexible and understanding each other’s priorities can contribute to a smoother co-parenting experience.

How Can I Improve My Likelihood of Successful Holiday Co-Parenting?

  1. Plan Ahead: Start discussions about holiday visitation well in advance to allow time for negotiation and agreement.
  2. Be Flexible: Recognize that holiday plans may change and be willing to adjust schedules as needed for the benefit of the child.
  3. Focus on the Child: Keep the best interests of the child at the forefront of decision-making, prioritizing their well-being over personal differences.
  4. Utilize Technology: Embrace technology to facilitate communication and coordinate plans, especially if distance is a factor.
  5. Review the Acting Orders & Holiday Schedule: Assuming there is a custody and visitation order in place which contains a holiday schedule, reviewing these orders well in advance of the holiday season can assist with both planning and co-parenting communications.

My Co-Parent Says That My Holiday Plans Interfere with Regularly Scheduled Parenting Time:

While it can be difficult to resolve this type of impasse when it occurs, it is one of the reasons that it is beneficial to have a clear and defined holiday schedule arrangement in place. Often, where there is a Court ordered schedule, it will include a holiday schedule for example.

Generally, where there is an ordered holiday schedule in place, that holiday scheduling “trumps” any standard visitation or custody scheduling that it may fall on.


While holiday visitation scheduling can present challenges, it also provides an opportunity for co-parents to demonstrate cooperation and prioritize the happiness of their children. By understanding California family law, creating a comprehensive parenting plan, and fostering open communication, parents can navigate the holiday season with minimal disruption to regular visitation schedules. Ultimately, a collaborative approach contributes to a positive co-parenting experience for all parties involved.