The holiday season can be unpredictable and chaotic, filled with family gatherings, school events, travel and various other activities. As a New Jersey parent sharing custody, the holiday season can be a difficult and emotional time, especially if this is your first holiday season being divorced or separated.
Even if you have a good relationship with your co-parent, enjoying the holiday season with your children while still following your court order can be complicated. These ideas can help.
You and your co-parent always have the option to deviate from your custody order if both of you agree, but good communication is essential. Pick the communication methods that is most likely to minimize conflict.
Some parents find it easier to communicate through text or parenting software rather than telephone or in person. Do not ever communicate through your children.
Be flexible and willing to compromise
Maybe it’s your year to have custody on Christmas, but your co-parent has a sick family member they would like the children to visit. Discuss different options and be flexible. Be willing to have your Christmas celebration on another day, or request that you have Christmas the next two years to even things out.
If you do change your schedule, any changes should be written down and signed by both parents.
Focus on making happy memories
Remember that the most important thing is making sure your children have happy memories of their holidays. It’s not about trying to gain the upper hand against your co-parent or “win” the children.
Finally, allow yourself to properly process your emotions related to your divorce or separation. Your holiday season will be different than it was in the past, and that will take some time to get used to.
Coming up with a holiday schedule that works best for your situation requires creativity and patience. Custody attorneys are there to provide you with the support and guidance that you need.