Negotiating a fair way to divide parenting time is one of the biggest challenges that divorcing or separating parents face. Obviously, both parents want to spend as much time as possible with the children, especially during the holiday season. If you don’t think about special days and how you intend to share your time with the children on them, you will inevitably have major disagreements about your co-parenting schedule.
Your conflicting interests will potentially lead to disputes that disrupt the entire family’s holiday season. Before things get out of control between you and your ex, you can take some time to prepare for the holidays and minimize the possibility of a dispute between the two of you making the season miserable for your children. How do you share custody during holidays?
Choose your approach to dividing the holidays
Every family has to make difficult choices about how they will split the holidays. It would not be fair for either parent to get the kids every holiday consistently. Some parents alternate holidays. Other times, if the parents are from different religions or cultures, they may each have different holidays that they would prefer to spend with the children.
Whether you divide the holidays or alternate them, you need to agree to a schedule. You will also need to coordinate regarding travel plans, menus and gift-giving. If the two of you don’t talk about what you intend to buy your children for Christmas, for example, you might duplicate gifts or overspend in a misguided attempt to make your children enjoy the holidays more.
What if you can’t agree?
It is normal for parents separating or divorcing to fight bitterly about time with their children. However, the more the two of you battle with one another, the more stressful things may become for your kids. You may need to find a way to compromise with one another, which may involve negotiating with the help of an attorney. Some parents require counseling or mediation services to work out their disputes.
Although it can be difficult to do so, thoroughly discussing how you intend to coordinate during the holiday season will make it much easier for your entire family to enjoy special days without conflict or scheduling hiccups in the future. Preparing for child custody negotiations often means identifying issues that might lead to conflict.