The holidays are supposed to be a magical time of year of celebration and spending time with family. But for divorced or separated couples, the logistics of child custody and time-sharing can make it feel more stressful and overwhelming than it is merry and bright.
But having a plan and agreeing to some simple guidelines with your child’s co-parent, can help to reduce anxiety and arguments and help to ensure that the holidays are a special time of year for the whole family.
Here are six child custody tips for sharing the kids over the holidays:
Making plans early will help both parents to better prepare for the holiday season. While it can be easy to procrastinate – especially if you anticipate an argument – the longer you do so, the more difficult it will be to come to an agreement.
By being proactive, and understanding that there will likely have to be some compromises, it will allow both parents to plan for their time with their children.
If your child custody agreement includes arrangements for the holidays, make sure that you have a clear understanding of those arrangements. Particularly in cases where the divorce is recent, the holidays can be an extremely emotional time and it can sometimes be hard to remember exactly what the agreement says.
Having a clear understanding of what the signed legal papers say can help to stop an argument in its tracks.
If co-parents live close enough to make it work, consider giving the kids two celebrations on major holidays like Christmas, Hanukah, etc. Sure, it takes a bit more effort to coordinate, but it can be a great solution for both parents and children.
Travel time and transportation can play a big role when it comes to kids arriving on time for holiday celebrations. Remember to consider travel time and account for possible delays due to weather, etc. Planning and preparation are key to ensuring that each parent gets their child at the agreed upon time.
Gift-giving is another area that can get contentious between divorced parents. If you feel strongly that there should be a spending limit or if you feel that certain gifts (such as video games) are not age appropriate, then it is important to have this discussion with the child’s co-parent ahead of time. If you are on good terms with each other, you may even decide to go in together in order to purchase a more expensive gift than you would have been able to afford on your own.
Finally, remember that child custody is all about doing what is in the best interests of the child. Remember to consider your child’s opinion about how they would like to spend the holidays and be flexible enough to help make the holidays a happy and enjoyable time for everyone.
Do you need help concerning your child custody arrangement?
If you require help with your child custody arrangement during the holidays or any other time of year, I am here to help. Contact me today to schedule a consultation.