The holiday season, for many in the Twin Cities, is a time for family. However, families are complicated, particularly if a couple is divorced. And, the more complicated one's family situation is, the more complicated the holidays become. This is especially true if children are involved. Will the child eat turkey with mom and leave cookies and milk out for Santa with dad? Will the child try to split each holiday between each parent? All of this can be a headache and a heartache during what is already an emotional time of year.
Ultimately, a well-crafted court-ordered child custody plan will address holiday schedules. People should review this schedule if it's been a while since they looked at it. Holiday scheduling may preempt normal child custody and visitation schedules. If a change is necessary, people should discuss this with their ex-spouse sooner rather than later, to ensure that everyone is in agreement.
Once a schedule is agreed upon, people need to make sure their children are aware of it. This can help make the transition from one house to another run more smoothly, without any surprises. Flexibility may also be key in such situations. If relatives are coming from out of town, it may be better for the child to spend time with them, and make up the time with the other parent at another time, rather than strictly adhering to an inflexible custody schedule. Moreover, in such situations, it is important that the other parent is aware of the change in schedule and has the correct contact information.
Especially, people should not try to "slip away" with the child during the holidays, particularly to another state without their ex-spouse's permission. This can be illegal. If there are concerns with the holiday custody schedule, parents can bring the matter up to their attorney. Sometimes a court modification of a custody or visitation schedule is necessary.
Finally, new living arrangements may require new traditions. Keep the holidays festive and positive. Making new traditions can help children adjust to a new life post-divorce, which in turn can benefit everyone involved. In the end, parents can focus on bringing a happy holiday to their children after a divorce, despite the issues they may have had with one another.
Source: Communities Digital News, "Ten Tips for Happy Divorced Holidays," Myra Fleischer, Nov. 14, 2016