While the winter holidays are often a time for family gatherings, gift-giving, and other festivities, the holidays can be a difficult time for families who have recently experienced a divorce. Deciding where your child will spend the holidays can add a lot of stress to an already emotional time period. It is important that you and your ex-spouse decide on a holiday custody schedule and include it in your parenting plan. Having a detailed schedule ahead of time can reduce the chances of conflict and other complications.
Because you know when the holidays will fall every year, it is possible to take the time to plan ahead and think about where your children will spend each holiday. Starting this conversation far in advance can help both parents feel prepared and not caught off guard. Plan to discuss where your children will spend all of the holidays that you celebrate (both individually and as a family). If there are certain holidays that are more meaningful to you, be sure to advocate for time with your children during those events. Instead of discussing holidays on a case by case basis, have one conversation to decide how custody will work with all of the holidays for the year. Allow flexibility, but set a schedule that can always be changed if needed.
It is always helpful to be able to refer back to your parenting plan as the holidays approach. For example, if your ex-spouse claims they should have the children on Christmas morning, you can refer to the plan to see whether the prearranged schedule allows this. Holding yourself and your ex to what is agreed on in this document is beneficial, as this document will continue to be a reference point for future decisions and can help to avoid potential conflicts. Having a feasible parenting plan can only help after a divorce into the future.
Since you will not be spending every single holiday with your children, now is the time to start making new traditions. Even if you are not planning to wake up together on Christmas morning, you can celebrate a few weeks before and introduce something new and fun into the mix. Children rely on consistency, so even if you are not celebrating on a specific date, creating yearly traditions during the holidays can help this time together still feel special.
If you are trying to determine the best custody schedule during the holidays, it is advisable to speak with a legal professional who can help guide you through this often-challenging process. Any change to a schedule can be difficult to manage, especially if you are dealing with an ex who is uncooperative. The team at The Jackson Law Firm is here to help. Call us today at (512) 528-1900 to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about your options when it comes to navigating this child custody scenario.