Episode 22 Transcript: Sharing Holidays After Divorce

Today, we are going to be talking about sharing holidays when you are co-parenting.

So, you have kids with your ex, and you have a co-parenting schedule that spells out how you spend your regular weekdays and your regular weekends with them. But then, you have to come up with a specific way that you’re going to share holidays as co-parents. I wanted to talk to you briefly about the approaches that many parents take to sharing holidays.

The gist is that the two fundamental approaches you can take to sharing holidays are either to split the holiday in some way, so to each have part of it every year, or to alternate holidays every year so that one parent has a given holiday in, for instance, odd years, and the other parent has that holiday in even years.

There are other approaches, as well, when a particular holiday is not important to one parent, and it is important to the other. So, it might be the case that your holiday schedule has you having every Easter every year with the kids if Easter is not important to your ex. And, for instance, maybe your ex wants to celebrate Passover with the kids, and that is not important to you. So, in that case, we don’t really need to share the holidays. One parent can have all of them.

But, for the bigger holidays, if they are shared by the family and important to both parents, you basically will take the approach of either finding some way to share that holiday every single year by splitting it, typically, in half, or accepting that it just doesn’t work to split that holiday in half, that it kind of results in both parents not really – or the kids not really – enjoying the holiday. In that case, you would look at being able to enjoy the full holiday with the kids every other year.

There are two factors that parents are most often taking into consideration when they try to weigh whether or not they want to divide the holiday itself every single year or whether they want to just enjoy the full holiday every other year.

One of those is travel. If you typically…if you want to be able to travel with your kids for a given holiday, it may well be hard to divide that holiday every year, and you are going to prefer celebrating that holiday with your kids every other year, but having a longer time over which to do it. And that longer time, if you are somebody who wants to travel on a holiday, gives you time to travel and still enjoy the holiday.

Along similar lines, another thing that impacts people’s decisions about whether or not to split the holiday every year or to alternate years is to look at how long is this holiday. If it’s a one-day holiday, you’re likely not going to be dividing that in half every year. You’re likely going to be alternating it. Whereas, for instance, if you’re looking at a child’s Christmas break or winter break as a holiday that’s two weeks long, well, you may well be splitting that and each having a week with the child over that break. Or, you may want to say, “Well, each of us has two weeks to travel with and vacation with the child every other year.”

So, there’s not a right or a wrong answer to how you share holidays, but the typical approaches are either to alternate the same holiday every other year, and each parent gets the full holiday every other year, or to divide the holiday itself every year with each parent roughly having half of the holiday.

I hope that is a helpful outline of how people approach co-parenting over holidays with their kids.


Episode 23 Transcript: Traveling with Kids Post Divorce

Episode 21 Transcript: 50-50 Parenting Schedules