Vacations and holidays should be a time of happiness and joy when everyone can spend time enjoying their friends and family. That is precisely why they can often be the most difficult times for those who have experienced divorce; particularly those whose divorce included a battle for custody. Parents don’t always agree on holiday plans and how their children should spend their free time and school vacations, especially when parents are no longer together. These differing opinions can easily lead to arguments and resentment for co-parents. For co-parents attempting to avoid uncomfortable situations to allow their children and their family to have happy holidays and vacations, consider these tips for splitting custody on the holidays harmoniously.
5 Tips for Splitting Custody During Vacations and Holidays:
1. Plan the Holiday Schedule: Parenting agreements should always include arrangements for holiday parenting schedules. Having a schedule to follow during most major holidays and school vacations included in your legal custody documents is the first step towards avoiding strife during the holidays post divorce. The agenda will consist of details on where the child would be during holidays and vacations, so there is no need to argue about it each time the situation arises.
2. Stick to Your Parenting Plan: If you have gone through a divorce or a custody battle, you probably have a parenting plan. Both parents are expected to adhere to the parenting plan’s outlined routine or regular schedule on a day-to-day basis. While holidays can mean a hectic schedule and alterations or exceptions to the usual routine, remember that the parenting plan is the basis for healthy functioning after divorce. ‘Don’t let the hectic nature of the holidays or vacations from school disrupt the basic parenting plan. Stick to regular pick up times, visitation times, and other decisions that are already in place for the children. Altering the basic parenting plan too much to accommodate exceptions for the holidays or vacations could result in problems for the children involved (and legal issues for the parent veering away from the parenting plan).
3. Work with a Mediator: If you are struggling to come to an agreement with your ‘child’s other parent regarding holiday schedules or how to manage custody during school vacations, it could be helpful to work with a mediator. The mediator listens to both parties and helps them come up with a plan that is best for their entire family.
4. Focus on the Child: The holidays and vacations are an exciting time of year, particularly for school age children. Parents want to have the time to make special memories with their child, but ‘it’s important to remember to put the ‘child’s feelings first. Remember that their feelings matter when creating a holiday schedule and ‘don’t let selfish desires or arguments influence your ‘child’s memory of the holiday.
5. Be Flexible: Extra time off school for the kids and holiday plans can both result in some changes to the daily parenting plan. While it ‘isn’t a good idea to veer off plan altogether, it is also important to remember to be flexible.
If you and your ex ‘can’t seem to agree on a holiday schedule for your children, please get in touch with one of the experienced California divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.