The holiday season is a time to be with the people you care about most. However, it can also be stressful for divorced or separated couples with kids. Co-parenting is a challenge for many. Since both you and your ex want quality time with your child during the holidays, you might encounter disagreements over custody and visitation.
Below are some tips you can follow to enjoy the holiday season while co-parenting with an ex.
Coordinate with the Other Parent
You should communicate with your ex before the holidays begin to ensure you’re on the same page. Conversations about who gets the kids during which holidays can be stressful. It might lead to arguments. However, having difficult conversations now might avoid problems in the future.
You must remember each holiday isn’t only a special time for you. It’s also an opportunity for your children to enjoy quality time with both their parents. Creating a schedule centered around your kid’s needs allows them to create long-lasting, happy memories.
Your co-parenting plan can include what makes the most sense for you and your former partner. Referring to an already-written custody or parenting agreement might be beneficial. Some parents create a separate agreement for the holidays since kids are off from school, and more days are available for each person to spend with their child.
You might like making a schedule and sticking to it. However, unforeseen circumstances require flexibility. Your child can get sick or adverse weather can create dangerous driving conditions. Maybe distant relatives become available at the last minute, or your ex gets called into work.
Creating a plan is beneficial, but you should be willing to change it when necessary. Your child deserves to spend time with each parent equally. So if you have to shift the dates they spend with you and their other parent to make sure the kids get time with them, you should do it.
Attend Mediation or Counseling
You and your former partner might not be on good terms. If agreeing to a co-parenting plan seems impossible, consider seeking help from a third party. You can attend mediation or meet with a counselor to negotiate the terms of a holiday schedule.
Start a New Tradition
Celebrating holidays after a divorce is often a challenge. You must cope with the fact that the holiday season will never be the same. You also might be grieving the loss of long-standing family traditions.
Instead of thinking about everything you’ll miss about the holidays, spend time creating new traditions. It can make the transition easier for your child and give them something to look forward to every year. Talk with your kids about what might be fun for them, and heed their suggestions if you can. You could suggest a game night with cocoa and home-baked goodies or a drive through the local neighborhood to look at the lights. Maybe they’d enjoy a weekend afternoon at home making new holiday decorations.
Remember to Put Your Kids First
Your kid’s needs should always be a priority. Whether you and your ex decide to split or rotate holidays, remember to make a plan that gives your son or daughter the time they need with both of you.
Divorce can be traumatic for everyone, especially children. Co-parenting might become more about winning and less about benefiting the kids. Set your differences aside and do what’s necessary to minimize arguments and keep your child happy and healthy.
Speak to a Family Law Attorney Today
At The Mandel Law Firm, we know the holiday season can be overwhelming for separated or divorced parents. Creating a schedule doesn’t have to turn into a battle. We will focus on your child’s needs and help make a co-parenting plan that works for everyone.
If you want to discuss a co-parenting holiday schedule with us, call (646) 770-3868 for a confidential consultation with an NYC family lawyer.