The holidays can be a frustrating time of year for newly divorced parents. If you are experiencing a lot of stress right now, it is likely partially due to custody arrangements. Determining who gets the kids during Thanksgiving or Christmas can be a tiring and contentious ordeal.
If you have some sort of joint custody or visitation schedule, you may need to work extra hard during the holidays to ensure your children are happy. Here are some tips for handling holiday custody issues.
1. Share the holidays
Here are some common methods for dividing holiday time:
- Split the day in half: Your children can spend half the day with each parent.
- Alternate holidays: You can swap who has the kids on a certain holiday each year.
- Schedule fixed holidays: You can decide which parent will have the kids on a particular holiday every year.
- Have two celebrations: You can arrange for your kids to spend time celebrating a holiday with each parent, even if it is not on the actual holiday.
Figure out which one works best as you draft your parenting plan.
2. Be positive around your kids
While you may be angry with your spouse, do not let it show in front of your children. It is normal to have arguments, but it can severely impact your kids. Additionally, avoid the temptation to speak negatively about the other parent to your children. The holidays should be as joyful for your kids as possible. Keep the negativity away from them as much as possible.
3. Seek modifications if necessary
What is in your original parenting arrangement may not make sense forever. If you find your current schedule is no longer feasible, you may want to change it. You can attempt to negotiate a new plan with the other parent. If your ex-spouse is not open to the idea, you may bring a modification request to the court.