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How can you best share custody on holidays?

While most in Los Angeles welcome the holiday season year after year, there are certain elements of it that some (namely, divorced parents) do not look forward to dealing with. At the top of that list is not being able to spend the entire season with their kids. If you are facing that reality following your own divorce, then it may be easy to succumb to the temptation to try and punish your ex-spouse by limiting his or her access to the kids this time of year. Ultimately, however, most would agree that such action only lessens your kids' enjoyment of the season (thus impacting yours, as well). 

While California does not have guidelines regulating holiday custody, you are encouraged to include a set schedule in your parenting plan. If you and your ex-spouse cannot come to an agreement, you risk having the court decide on those terms for you (which could leave you both unhappy the result). Therefore, your best course of action may be to work together to come up with guidelines now that the court can reference as being binding should a dispute arise in the future. 

It is typically easier to divide time equally for holidays that involve multiple days out of school (such as Christmas or Thanksgiving). For these holiday breaks, you may consider splitting the days equally, with each of you rotating between the first and second half of each break every year. Given that it is more difficult to share custody on single-day holidays, you may be better off dividing them into two groups and agreeing to rotate custody for each holiday in them on even- and odd-numbered years. 

The state provides a holiday schedule attachment that can recorded alongside your parenting plan to use as future proof of your agreement. 

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