Getting Aligned with Your Co-Parent Before the Holiday Season Begins
Filing for divorce is never an easy decision. It’s made even more complicated when children are involved. No good parent wants to create unhappiness for their children. However, that’s often what happens when a divorce is imminent or has recently occurred.
One of the best things you can do for your children when filing for divorce is to work with their other parents to create a co-parenting strategy based on their best interests. The holidays can be tough to schedule when you have just filed for divorce, and both parents want to spend time with the kids. The best thing you can do for your children during this time is to work out a holiday visitation schedule in advance. Preferably when you create your parenting plan, so everyone involved knows what to expect for the holidays. Here are some tips for getting aligned with your co-parentbefore the holiday season begins.
Always Put Your Children First
You and your former spouse won’t always agree. However, regardless of the circumstances around your divorce, it is likely you both still want what is best for your children.
When you are working on a parenting plan for the holidays, it’s best to remember that you want to do what is in the children’s best interests. Co-parenting amicably is always going to be in the best interests of your children, even though it may be challenging. While this may be easier said than done, if you make a conscious effort to reduce arguments, encourage your children to visit their other parent, and keep negativity regarding your former spouse at bay in front of the children, you’ve made an essential first step.
Review Your Current Parenting Plan
Your original divorce agreement was probably drafted by an attorney who strove to put the children’s best interests, as well as the laws governing child custody, into adequate practice. Check to see what, if any, parenting plan the attorney put into your original decree regarding the holidays. Check the schedule well in advance of the holiday and discuss it with your former spouse to ensure it is still the best schedule for your holiday season and make updates if neccessary.
Plan Ahead to Give Your Children the Best Possible Holiday
Holiday plans take precedence over your regular visitation plans. For example, if you alternate weekends, but this is the other parent’s year to have them on Halloween. They get Halloween even if it falls on your weekend. Having a holiday plan set helps to give the children stability and allows you and your co-parent to make the proper arrangements for the holidays.
There are several ways to celebrate holidays with your children. The best one will depend on your personal situation. Here are some ideas for co-parenting through the holidays:
- Spend the holidays together.
- Alternate days so one of you is with the children on even number days, and the other has odd number days.
- Split the holiday evenly.
- Alternate holidays annually.
- Use your initial parenting plan as a tool for the basis of your holiday plan.
- Decide in advance where the children will be and with whom.
It’s likely that when filing for divorce, neither you nor your former spouse anticipated every issue that might arise. While you may have done your best to create a fair plan, there are bound to be some situations that weren’t covered and that’s okay. When this happens, the best thing you can do is remain calm and flexible. Compromise can help alleviate future headaches for everyone.
Often, parents find that the winter break can pose a problem for both their parenting agreement and their holiday schedule. This is because each parent may be scheduled to share winter break equally. However, the school can change its calendar, making it difficult to adhere to the schedule and still maintain an appropriate holiday schedule. Flexibility will help you address the issues at hand with your children’s visitation schedule.
Communicate Well and Effectively
Don’t stop communicating when you get your parenting plan created. Unexpected things come up all the time. If you maintain an open line of clear, prompt, and efficient communication with your former spouse, you are more likely to be able to agree on unexpected short-term changes to your holiday or parenting plan should they arise.
For example, if you were suddenly scheduled to work overnight when it’s your turn to have the children for winter break, you can text or email your former spouse to find a satisfactory solution to the dilemma. If long-term changes are needed, it’s advised that you draft those in written and legal document.
If you take the time to get on the same page with your spouse at or before filing for divorce, handling holiday schedules or other parenting issues will be easier. If you need help devising or updating a child custody parenting plan, or a holiday schedule, contact Brian D. Perskin & Associates at 1-800-DIVORCE.