The holiday season is meant to be a happy, exciting time, especially for children. If you are raising children, you want them to grow up having happy memories of their holidays.
This becomes challenging when you are co-parenting after a divorce or separation. You have various options when deciding on a holiday custody schedule, including splitting the time on each holiday or alternating years with your co-parent.
What if we can’t agree on an option?
If you and your co-parent cannot agree on a holiday schedule, a court will order one. California courts create custody orders based on what is best for your children. The goal is a schedule that allows both of you to spend meaningful time with your children while allowing them to maintain a sense of stability.
Once your holiday schedule is in place, conflicts or challenges can still arise. The holidays are filled with special events or family celebrations and plans can change unexpectedly and suddenly.
Flexibility and communication
Flexibility and the ability to compromise are important during this time. Your custody schedule might allow you to have the children on a certain day and time but if your co-parents family changes their plans and decides to hold their annual holiday party during that time, consider modifying the schedule to allow your children the opportunity to attend.
Good communication can prevent parenting disputes during this busy time. Tell your co-parent ahead of time what your plans are and let them know immediately if they change.
Keep your children out of disputes
Always treat them with respect and try to maintain a cordial relationship. There are times when conflict is bound to occur, but do not discuss the problem in front of the children. Remember to keep your children’s best interests in mind when making decisions.
If you have a custody order in place that includes a holiday schedule, sometimes life circumstances change requiring a permanent modification of the schedule. In that case, you might need to modify your custody order through the court and there are professionals who can help with that.