What Are Holiday Co-Parenting Tips?
If you are divorced and have children, you may feel some anxiety when it comes to the holidays and other special occasions. Conflict between co-parents happens over child custody schedules, vacations, and the introduction of new partners. However, co-parenting over the holidays does not have to be stressful. Below are important holiday co-parenting tips you can follow.
Create a Holiday Co-Parenting Plan
If you do not have a detailed parenting schedule in place, this should be your first step. It is important to have something in writing which is approved by the courts to prevent disputes over where the child spends the holidays.
Holiday parenting schedules vary from family to family. Some parents alternate year to year. For example, if the child spends a holiday with mom, next year they would be with dad. If you live fairly close to your ex-spouse, you might split the day. Your child can have breakfast with you before heading over to the other parent’s house in the afternoon. A third option is to celebrate the holiday on another day.
Consider Joint Celebrations
After divorce, some co-parents have a friendly relationship, which makes the holiday season easier. If you get along well with your ex-spouse, consider spending the holidays together as a family. That consistency can be comforting to a child who is still adjusting from the changes they have experienced.
It might be wise explain to your child, however, that even though mom and dad are spending the holiday together, they are not getting back together. You do not want to get your child’s hopes up only for them to be disappointed.
Make New Traditions
The first holiday season after divorce can be emotional. Ex-spouses often look back and dwell on the memories they created as a family, and they may even wonder if they made the right decision.
However, divorce also represents a fresh start. Take this opportunity to start brand new traditions with your child. Whether it is cooking a new holiday recipe together or starting gift exchange, new traditions do not have to be elaborate or expensive.
Discuss Gifts Ahead of Time
It is wise to have a plan for holiday presents well in advance. Discuss budgets, ideas, and if you want to go in on a gift together. Having a budget and list can prevent arguments over who pays for what and how much to spend.
Whatever you decide, do not try to win your child over with gifts, or try to outdo your ex-spouse by going over the top with elaborate presents. Children are intuitive, and they may sense your attempts to compete.
Consider Your Child’s Wishes
When you sit down to create a parenting schedule, consider your child’s wishes. Have an age-appropriate discussion about how they want to spend the holidays. There is no guarantee you can satisfy all of their requests, but their opinion matters.
Simply Life With a Co-Parenting App
Consider using a parenting app for your schedules, messaging, payments, and sharing important information, like medical records, receipts, and school notices. Technology enables you to store all of this information in one place to keep your holiday parenting schedule up-to-date and easy to find.
Be Willing to Compromise
Even with a plan in place, holiday schedules can be unpredictable. If something comes up and your ex-spouse’s requests a change to the parenting schedule, consider how it will benefit your child. If a child sees their parents working together, they will likely adjust to post-divorce life much easier.
Schedule Time for Self-Care
Your needs are important as well. Divorce is hard for children, but it is also tough on parents. It is okay to mourn the past and have feelings of uncertainty about the future. Take time to focus on yourself. By making time for self-care, you are modeling healthy coping skills for your children.
Can I Take My Child Away for Vacation Over the Holidays?
If you want to take your child on vacation during the holidays, check your parenting plan first. If you are still unsure, contact your divorce lawyer to clarify the terms of your parenting plan. The courts do not take it lightly when a parent blatantly disregards a court order. You can face monetary fines and lost visitation time.
I Want to Change My Parenting Schedule. What Is the First Step?
If you find your current holiday parenting schedule is no longer working for you, you may be able to make adjustments. If you and your ex-spouse mutually agree to the changes, the process will be much easier. Otherwise, you have to petition the court for a modification. This process is more challenging and requires a major change of circumstances to happen. A remarriage, major move, or significant change in income may justify a change in custody or child support. A lawyer can assess your situation, and they can file the proper paperwork.
Marlton Divorce Lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Resolve Tough Custody Matters for Clients During the Holiday Season
The holiday season can still be peaceful and conflict-free after divorce. Our Marlton divorce lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. help clients create fair and effective parenting plans. Call us at 856-890-9400 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation and to learn more. We are located in Marlton, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, and Gloucester County.