Whether you had an amicable split or your divorce was contentious, sharing custody of your children can be a challenge. The biggest challenge can often be having to share precious time during the holidays and the stress of making schedules and ensuring your kids have a great holiday despite the divorce can be difficult.
When it comes to sharing custody with your former spouse during the holidays, here are a few dos and don'ts to keep in mind.
Do Understand the Terms of Your Child Custody Arrangement
Before making any holiday plans, read through your custody agreement to determine which days you have your children. For example, you may have an arrangement that allows you to have the children this year on Christmas Eve and New Year's Day this year and the kids on Christmas day the next. Give your former spouse a friendly reminder to also review the custody arrangement.
Do not try to alter the arrangement prior to the holidays, as this can mean having to revisit the entire arrangement and even get your lawyer or the courts involved.
Don't Make Your Child Feel Uncomfortable
The holiday can be a time of stress and depression, especially if this is your first year having to share time with your children on Christmas. Avoid making your child feel uncomfortable by asking them about the time spent at their other parent's home. You want your child to have an amazing holiday season, but this does not mean getting information about the other parent's plans and trying to outdo them.
Instead, just ask if your child had a nice time and make sure you focus on your time with your child, not what your child is doing at their other parent's home.
Do Make Some New Memories and Traditions with Your Kids
Finally, the holidays for many families means making memories and starting their own traditions. Sometimes, the hardest part of the holidays after the divorce is not having those traditions to look forward to. Instead of trying to recreate the holiday traditions you shared with your former spouse, make some new memories and traditions with your kid and your new family.
For example, if you only have your children on the day after Christmas, turn this day into your new Christmas. There are several ways you can make new memories with your kids that will help you find a new normal during the holidays.
From starting new traditions with your kids to understanding your custody arrangement to ensure you remain compliant, there are several dos and don'ts to remember when sharing custody during the holidays.