When you informed your children that you and your spouse had decided to divorce, you may have noticed that each of them had a unique reaction. Depending on ages, one child might have been angry while another became reclusive. If you have toddlers or infants, they are undoubtedly too young to have understood the topic of discussion. However, like all good parents, you want what’s best for your kids and may have worried whether child custody issues would cause them stress, especially during their first post-divorce holiday season.
The 2020 holiday season isn’t far off. The more you think ahead about your co-parenting plan, the less likely you might be to encounter legal problems or challenges that cause so much stress you can’t enjoy your celebrations. No two families are exactly the same, but talking to a close friend or family member who has already navigated holidays after a divorce can help.
Schedule child custody time carefully during the holidays
When you and your ex sign a co-parenting agreement, you must adhere to its terms once the court approves it and issues an order. If one of your primary goals is to reduce co-parenting stress during the holidays, you’ll want to incorporate terms into your agreement regarding scheduling time with your kids and any other details you find pertinent.
It’s helpful to consider the family traditions your children have grown accustomed to while you and your ex were married. For instance, if you always wake up early on Thanksgiving to watch a televised parade, you might want to agree to terms that state you will have custody that day so your children can honor their tradition.
Agreeing to be flexible and cooperative is always best
There are no set rules about where children whose parents divorce must spend their holidays. You and your ex are free to design a co-parenting plan that fits your needs and keeps your children’s best interests in mind. Whether you alternate holidays for child custody or decide that both of you will be present for holidays and special events, it’s up to you, and you’re free to determine what would work best for your particular family.
If your spouse has his or her heart set on buying a specific gift that you also had in mind for your kids, it’s a good idea to be willing to compromise. Perhaps the gift can be from both of you, or you make a trade for another item on the list. Simple things like this go a long way to help newly divorced parents avoid holiday co-parenting stress.
If problems arise you don’t feel equipped to handle on your own
It’s possible to keep holiday stress to a minimum if you and your ex are willing to work as a co-parenting team. However, that’s not always how things work out. If your co-parent tries to pit the kids against you, refuses to transfer custody at an agreed upon time or is disregarding an existing court order, it will no doubt cause high levels of stress during the holidays.
The sooner you resolve such issues, the better, which is why it’s good to stay connected to a strong support network here in Texas so that you can reach out for assistance as needed.