One of the tensest points of child custody is determining when the child will spend time with each parent. While it’s hard enough to come up with the standard arrangement, the holidays are even more complex.
Parents who are going through their first holiday season after a divorce will have some adjustments to think about. Ultimately, the goal is to do what’s best for the children so be sure to keep things in perspective as you figure out the parenting time for the holidays.
Come up with the plan
There are a few ways you can schedule the holidays. One of the best things you can do is to avoid thinking in concrete terms about the date on the calendar. Instead, consider when each family celebrates the special days. For example, if the child’s mother’s family celebrates Christmas Eve and the child’s father’s family celebrates on Christmas Day, it’s probably in the child’s best interests for the parenting schedule to reflect those.
Another option is for parents to set up holiday so that one parent has the child for specific holidays on the even-numbered years and the other parent has the child for those holidays on the odd-numbered years. This enables both parents to have time with the children on the special days.
Be willing to adjust as necessary
Adjustments are going to happen as people set up holiday events. When both parents can work together by being flexible, the children reap great benefits. If you and your ex get along, you might even be able to attend some events with the child together.
Start planning early
Even if this isn’t your first holiday season as a divorced parent, you can still benefit from early planning. Grab the calendar and the child custody documents so you can sit down and figure out what’s going to happen during the season. If there are days that you may need to trade with your ex, trying to do this as early as possible can reduce the stress.
One of the most effective ways to take the stress out of the holidays is to have everything written out in your parenting plan. Getting this together quickly once you split with your ex is beneficial. Some parents need a creative custody arrangement so working with someone familiar with these matters may help you to find the solutions you need.