The holiday season is here, and while potentially wonderful, this is often a stressful time of year for parents, especially after a recent separation or divorce. But with the right mindset and planning, it is possible for parents to avoid time sharing disputes and help the kids make warm memories that last a lifetime.
If you have a parenting plan in writing, then it may include clear provisions for time sharing during the holidays. It's a good idea to review the child custody agreement well in advance to ensure that you and your co-parent are on the same page. If you don't have an agreement or yours doesn't specify holiday planning, then you should still coordinate with your co-parent about who will have the kids and when.
Keep in mind, too, that flexibility can be a virtue during the holiday season. If your co-parent wants to arrange his or her parenting time to correspond with a get-together on that side of the family, then it's probably a good idea to be flexible if that plan happens to cut into your time with the children. You can clarify with your co-parent beforehand that you'll want that time back later on, and you should likewise be able to expect compromise from your co-parent.
Again, planning ahead can set expectations and help you avoid disputes.
The most important thing for parents to remember during the holidays is that the children are the top priority. Even if your relationship with your co-parent is very rocky, it is important that the kids, no matter their age, are not exposed to malice between their parents.
For more on what children go through in a divorce, please visit our main family law website.