The holiday season produces the most treasured childhood memories—nothing quite compares to the joy of waking up to Christmas morning or the smell of hot chocolate topped with colorful marshmallows. As such, parents place high regard on creating valuable holiday memories, particularly when it comes to the young ones.
After a divorce or separation affair, however, the holiday magic can easily be tainted by sadness. There’s a need to adapt to new schedules and family structures, leaving little room for yuletide joy.
Thankfully, there are ways to address such an issue. Although the holiday season can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster of emotions, spending ample time on preparation can help co-parents work together to preserve the holiday spirit. One of the best ways to do so is to create a clear schedule, one that will enable the children to spend festivities without miscommunication. Here’s how to get your holiday custody planning right:
Step 1: Identify the important holidays
As individual people, you and your co-parent will likely be operating on unique holiday schedules. They may have traditions when it comes to holidays and certain celebrations, and you’ll likely also have plans at the same time. Identifying which holidays will be included in your schedules can help you come up with a good custody plan, especially since the well-being of your children will be involved.
If you find yourself in a situation where you both need to celebrate a particular holiday, keep an open mind, and come up with compromises. You need to settle on cooperative solutions rather than clashing—remember that the holidays will be for your children, and you’d want to spend precious time with them. If need be, opt to split the day between the two of you.
Step 2: Craft your holiday plan schedules
Once you’ve both identified the holidays and festivities you wish to celebrate, begin finalizing your plans. You’ll want to plot how the children will be shared between you and your co-parent, so expect the planning process to be extensive.
It’s best to think in advance, making sure to throw in the next couple of years in your agreed holiday plans. You can celebrate this Christmas with your children, for instance, while the next year will be with your co-parent. Flexibility and communication are paramount to success, so make sure to approach the process with extreme understanding.
Step 3: Prepare your children
As the holiday season comes up, expect your child to feel excitement and giddiness over the upcoming festivities. The divorce may likely continue to affect them, so it’s best to sit down with them and talk about your plans. Let them know early on where they’ll be spending Christmas, or who they’ll be watching fireworks with as the year ends.
Your goal is to never surprise them with events, so take some time to answer their questions and concerns. You’ll want to take good care of their well-being, especially if your co-parent lives half-way across the country. For better results, it’s best to periodically remind them of your plans—not only will you build excitement, but you ensure that they prepare themselves amply for the upcoming trip.
The Bottom Line
Holidays and other special celebrations happen yearly. And while divorce can be difficult to process, you and your co-parent have the responsibility of making these moments memorable for your children. You need to be diligent in preparation, especially when it comes to custody schedules.
Make sure to plan as early as you can, especially since your children will be adjusting, too. Changing your holiday plans as a now-separate family can be difficult, but not entirely impossible—if anything, you can still make it as joyful as you possibly can.
Should you need assistance on time-sharing/ custody arrangements and conflicts, Parra Harris Law can help. We are a family law litigation boutique firm serving Northeast Florida and surrounding areas, dedicated to helping parents deal with family law matters. With over 45 years of combined experience, we guarantee you excellent service. Book an appointment with us today.