Sigman Janssen Legal Blog

Holiday Co-Parenting Tips

November 01, 2017

Co-parenting after divorce can be stressful, and rarely more so than during the holiday season. Don’t let tension or conflict between you and your ex-spouse threaten to undo your children’s expectations of a fun and loving holiday season. Here are some helpful holiday co-parenting tips for making the best of your new situation:

Plan Ahead: Having a court ordered holiday schedule in place dictating when the children will be with each parent will help ease anxiety and allow everyone to make plans with extended family in advance. I regularly field stressful calls from parents in the days leading up to the Christmas holiday indicating that their ex-spouse is not agreeing to let him/her take the children to family events surrounding the holidays. In order to make sure that you do not find yourself on the phone with an attorney on December 23rd, make certain to have an agreed upon holiday schedule in place and incorporated into your judgment of divorce. You and your ex-spouse are always free to deviate from your court ordered holiday schedule, but in the event of any disagreement, you know you have a plan in place that you and your children can rely on.

Be Civil: Let your ex have their quality time with the children, don’t argue about it or interfere. Unless he/she is actually dangerous or abusive, your ex has as much right to spend time with the children for the holidays as you do. Also, keep in mind that a little generosity or reasonableness on your part can sometimes pay dividends the next time you need to ask for a favor. For example, if is snowing and the roads are bad, allow your ex an extra 30 minutes to safely transport the children. The court is not likely to hold him/her in contempt for being 30 minutes late for an exchange during a blizzard or icy conditions.

Don’t bad mouth your ex-spouse: While bad mouthing your ex in front of your children is never healthy, in particular you do not want your children to feel guilty or conflicted about spending holiday time with your ex or his extended family. Give your children the gift of peace during the holidays.

Resolve to have the best holiday possible: Especially if the divorce is recent, or is still unfolding, invite family and friends over, play games, watch holiday movies, eat, drink (not too much!) and be merry. Show your children that whatever the situation is, you can still share holiday cheer with them. Create a conflict-free zone around your kids and stick to it.

Take care of yourself: The holidays can often be a very difficult time for people going through major life changes, including divorce or separation. Acknowledge that within yourself and reach out to family and close friends. Get enough rest, exercise, and eat healthy (along with a few holiday treats!) Taking care of yourself will allow you to be more patient with your kids and your ex and can help to make the holidays enjoyable rather than something to be endured.

If you have any questions about your holiday schedule feel free to contact our office. Again, the sooner the better as you do not want to be dealing with uncertain plans on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Eve. There is much we can do to assist you now, however come December 24th our options will be few and far between

Attorney Katherine Canadeo