The winter holidays are fast approaching, and with them comes a good deal of stress. In 2018, a third of Americans traveled during the holiday season, according to AAA. Even without travel, there is still quite a lot going on during the holidays. The holiday season is a time for celebration and many holiday events and the stress and deviation from a normal routine can lead to difficulty for co-parents with joint child custody. For the divorced family, the holidays mean a lot of communication, planning, and sometimes stress when arrangements are not met. To avoid conflict, here are some tips on how to handle the holidays with your divorced family.
Plan your schedules and trips well in advance. In order to co-parent effectively, vacation schedules and holiday plans need to be exchanged and agreed upon by both parents well in advance.
Keep the children’s best interest at heart when making decisions. You should always consider your child’s well-being first before deciding on making any trips or making plans for the holidays.
Try to keep similar household rules. It’s easy to relax or get caught up in the hectic pace of the holidays, but keep in mind that you’re a co-parent and the children need consistency in both homes.
If a major conflict arises or you foresee a difficult situation, seek help. If you believe that determining holiday plans might cause conflict, request a legal document that binds both parties to follow an agreed upon schedule.
Consider holiday events with both parents. It might be a good idea for both parents to have a holiday event together with the children. This should only be considered if both parents are able to get along and the children are okay with it.
Maybe have holiday celebrations without your new girlfriend or boyfriend. The holidays are a special time for you and your kids and they want to be with you as much as you want to be with them. Sometimes a new person can get in the way of that bonding time.
Don’t involve the children in every little detail. It’s important to keep your kids informed on holiday plans, but they don’t need to know every little detail like the finances involved or the disagreements that were made prior to making decisions.
Communicate effectively before, during, and after the holidays. It is important to keep the other parent informed of all information regarding their child. If you go out of town with the children, consider letting the other parents know where you are staying, what you are doing, and a brief itinerary of the trip. Effective communication is the number one way to avoid conflict during the holidays.
These are just a few of the tips that can help your holidays run a little smoother. If you are having difficulty reaching agreements post-divorce, legal action might be necessary. Call Katie to request a consultation to discuss your options. To determine what custody agreement is right for you, click here.