With summer coming to an end and the kids going back to school, many people start thinking about preparing for the upcoming holiday season. For divorced parents, the holidays can be a difficult time, especially when it seems like everyone around you is happily spending time together as a family. Fortunately, there are ways to make your life easier. Here are some tips on how to co-parent with your ex during the holidays.
Update your co-parenting plan
During the divorce process, you and your ex may have come up with a child custody agreement that became a custody order when the divorce was finalized. As part of this agreement, you and your ex may have come up with a holiday schedule specifying when each parent gets to spend time with the children. However, your original plan may require modifications as the years go by or major life changes occur (e.g., a new job or relocation). An attorney can help you file for a modification of your custody plan.
Plan ahead, but be flexible
You and your ex should try to plan any vacations or outings as far in advance as possible and keep each other in the loop when it comes to these plans. However, the holidays are a stressful time, and a lot of things can come up that you did not expect. Sometimes that may require you to change things around to accommodate your ex’s schedule, or vice versa. It is important for you and your ex to work together and do whatever it takes to keep the peace.
A common source of tension for divorced parents is what gifts to give the children. If one parent tries to one-up the other by overspending or buying the child something the other parent does not want them to have, the child may start favoring one parent over the other. Avoid this by talking to your ex in advance and setting expectations around how much money will be spent and what types of gifts are not allowed.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself
With so much going on, it is easy to forget about yourself. Make sure you take time to de-stress with your favorite activities and seek therapy if you need it.
Some parents are unable to get along around the holidays, no matter how hard they try. A family law attorney can help you work through any co-parenting issues that may arise during this busy time of year.