Developing a Christmas Custody Schedule


Your Parenting Plan

A critical element of the divorce process is developing a comprehensive parenting plan that accounts for important holidays and special occasions. Once approved, this parenting plan becomes a court order that stipulates how custody is going to be shared. Parents are responsible for analyzing their individual circumstances and negotiating a schedule that best suits their child’s needs. If they can’t come to an agreement, the court may intervene and make a final determination based on the child’s best interests.

Your Holiday Schedule

The key to developing a fair holiday schedule is to think of your child’s needs. Divorce is a life-altering experience for any child, and the holiday season tends to exacerbate feelings of loneliness, guilt, and depression. Your parenting plan is a strict schedule that safeguards your parental rights while protecting your child from being the center of any custody arguments.

When you’re developing a holiday schedule, it’s important to evaluate the following factors:

  • Your child’s needs
  • Family traditions
  • Travel costs, needs, and accommodations
  • Viability of traveling on or around the holiday

Of course, it’s entirely natural for the needs of your family to change over time. If you and your coparent have an amicable relationship, you may be able to discuss any necessary or unexpected scheduling changes. However, if the court order becomes unreasonable, you may need to request a modification that reflects your lasting change in circumstances.


The winter season presents many difficult hurdles for the recently divorced. The month of December, in particular, is chock-full of various religious and cultural holidays that celebrate the concepts of love and family. It can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially if you’re still struggling to adjust to divorced life. However, you may experience additional emotional challenges this holiday season if both you and your ex want to spend Christmas with your child. If you have good legal counsel, you hopefully already have a parenting plan that accounts for the winter holidays or your lawyer can help you negotiate an updated parenting plan.

Examples of possible Christmas schedules include:

  • One parent has the first half of winter break including Christmas and the other has the second half of winter break including New Year’s Day - Parents alternate which half based on odd and even years
  • Splitting Christmas Day
  • One parent has Christmas Eve and the other Christmas Day
  • One parent gets Christmas every year while the other parent gets a different holiday every year that important to the other parent

The structure of your holiday schedule depends entirely upon your personal circumstances and family dynamics. Understandably, the schedules other families settle on may not work for your individual situation. Before you finalize your divorce, it’s important to discuss your needs and wishes with an experienced attorney. This legal representative can negotiate on your behalf to develop a reasonable parenting plan that safeguards your parent-child relationship. Plus, your holiday schedule can help you avoid many of the custody hurdles that often afflict recently divorced parents.

Schedule a Consultation Today

If you’re planning to file for divorce or need guidance in negotiating a parenting plan, contact the McKinney child custody attorney at Camille Borg Law PLLC. Our legal team can address your concerns and help you negotiate a thorough parenting plan that allows you to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with your child.

Contact Camille Borg Law PLLC at (469) 646-7763 to schedule a consultation.

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