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Holiday child custody doesn't have to be a nightmare

For many people, Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year. If your family falls into this category, you might be concerned about what is going to happen now that you and your ex have to deal with child custody.

Most child custody orders have specific instructions and plans for annual holidays. This should be the first place you look to determine what is going to happen for everything from Halloween through New Year's Day. Here are some challenges that you should think about while you are making plans:

Breaks from school

School age children usually have long breaks from school around Thanksgiving and Christmas. You need to think carefully about child care while your child isn't in school. This is another reason to work out the schedule now -- to give you time to make plans for child care when school is out.

Holiday schedules

Unless you and your ex are spending the holidays together with your children, you have to decide when the child will spend time with which parent. Some child custody plans use an alternating schedule where one parent has the child on the holiday in years that end in even numbers and the other parent has the child on years that end in odd numbers. If there aren't provisions in the child custody order, you need to get in contact with your ex to look at schedules and determine where the child will be for each holiday.

Vacations and trips

Some families travel for gatherings during the holiday season. If you or your ex is going to travel, these plans should be made with the custody agreement in mind. This is a situation that might require some level of flexibility from both parents. While you are negotiating things with your ex about travel, make sure that you keep the focus on your child. Also, make sure that you are in compliance with travel notifications that are noted in the child custody order as most parents will have to let the other parent know the travel plans.

Communication with your child

Children will likely want to have contact with both parents during the holiday season. Make the plans for the child to communicate with you. This might include phone calls, but it could also include other virtual means of communication, such as real-time video chats or emails. By making these plans now, you can make sure that your ex knows the plan and will abide by it.

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