The holidays stir up many emotions for divorced or separated couples. If you have kids, thinking about spending time away from them during the holiday season can be overwhelming. Many people stress about how to co-parent with their ex effectively. It can be a challenge, especially if the split wasn’t amicable.
Your child deserves to spend time with both parents. That means you and your former partner must put your differences aside to create a co-parenting plan that meets everyone’s needs.
Check out the three tips below for co-parenting successfully during the holidays.
Make Your Child the Priority
Your kids should be your number one priority during the holidays. That means you should put their needs first. Even if you and your ex don’t communicate well about anything else, you likely agree on making your children happy.
Talk with your kids and find out what their preferences are. Their wishes should play a part in how you arrange your holiday schedules and knowing that they have a say in what’s going on will make it easier for them. They can enjoy the holidays and feel more comfortable with what’s going on. As co-parents, your goal should be to make sure that the kids get to spend time with both parents in an environment with as little tension between their parents as possible.
You should begin discussing a schedule with your ex in advance. Once the holiday season starts, you will likely be busy and not have time to sit down to create a plan. Planning ahead eliminates miscommunication, confusion, and disagreements in the future. Talk with your ex long before the holiday season arrives to figure out who can take days off and when and how the kids will be passed from one parent to the other.
When you make your plans for the holiday season, consider starting some new traditions that will be just for you and the children. Maybe a new tradition involving hay rides, making holiday decorations, a holiday games night with cocoa and treats, or a drive through an arboretum with a light show could become an annual event. Invite their suggestions for what they think would make a good addition to your family traditions, and be receptive to their ideas.
Allow Flexibility in the Schedule
Unforeseen circumstances might require changing the co-parenting plan. Creating a schedule and sticking to it is unlikely, especially during the holiday season. You should be flexible if something suddenly comes up and you need to adjust the schedule.
For example, your ex might take on a work project that requires working on Thanksgiving at the last minute. Although they were supposed to take the kids that day and have them for Christmas, now they need to switch holidays. Another example is if visiting out-of-town family suddenly becomes possible. You should make changes to accommodate your child spending time with their relatives. And your child could become ill at the last minute. Any of these things could happen without warning. You want your child to have a happy holiday season, so both co-parents should be flexible and understanding when unforeseen issues arise that require a change of plan.
Speak to an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today
Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC has represented clients in Macomb County, MI, since 1951. We have experience handling complex family law matters and resolving them favorably. Let us be your guide if you need to modify a custody arrangement or have trouble reaching an acceptable co-parenting plan.