As the holiday season approaches, Santa is not the only one who should be checking his list twice. In fact, those who participate in child custody agreements in New York may also need to confirm their holiday plans in the immediate future. For many families, holidays are times of happiness and comfort, but those fun memories can only be experienced within the confines of a properly structured custody schedule. Parents who fail to think about holidays before they arrive are only perpetuating anxiety and confusion among the entire family. Do not wait until the last minute to review your custody schedule or start making family plans; instead, make decisions early to alleviate everyone’s worry.

The first step to determining a holiday custody schedule is to locate your child custody agreement. If you hashed out a specific arrangement when that document was drafted, be sure to stick to it. In some cases, one parent has two weeks of custody during winter break; this definitely deviates from a standard parenting schedule. If you have questions about the agreement, a family attorney may be able to review the document with you, allowing both parents to make the best decisions for their holiday seasons.

Alternatively, you may not have a mandated holiday parenting plan in place. This situation is fairly common among families with amicable divorces. Instead of waiting until just a few days before the holiday, however, take time during the autumn months to make plans, starting with Thanksgiving. Hashing out a custody plan every year can be tiresome, but it is in the best interests of your children, as they deserve time with both parents during this important season.

New York parents with holiday custody agreements need to remember to be flexible. The holidays are not the time to become combative with your children’s other parent; instead, work together to ensure that your kids have a positive experience for years to come.

Source:, “Holiday parenting schedule: Make a list and check it twice” Nicole H. Sodoma & Robin Goulet, Oct. 25, 2013