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Child Custody & The Holidays

Holidays are inherently stressful for a multitude of reasons – add the commencement of a dissolution proceeding and the stress surrounding the holiday time will likely be heightened. When there are children involved, parents often feel a mix of emotions during this time of year.

Ideally, after parents have decided to end their marriage, a written custody arrangement will be agreed to by both parties. However, not every situation is “ideal,” and oftentimes no written agreement has been drafted.

If your divorce process has recently commemorated, this will likely be your child(ren)’s first holiday season spending time with each parent separately. But, just as the parents are working at adjusting to their new life, the kids too will adjust.

To minimize your children’s stress, as well as your own stress, here are some custody tips to help get you through the holiday season:

  1. It is never too early to start planning a custody schedule to arrange for your children’s holiday time.
  2. Communicate with your children’s school to receive their vacation schedule. Often times, children have winter break for at least one week. Be mindful of their schedule when you are working towards a custody agreement.
  3. It is best for the children, if the circumstances allow it, to experience holidays with both parents, which will allow them to develop traditions with both sides.
  4. On that same note, be flexible and rational when working towards a custody agreement. If there is a particular holiday in which your children’s other parent has a large celebration and your family does not, it is okay to agree to let the children spend that particular holiday with their other parent. You must remember this is not about you and your soon to be ex-spouse; but rather this is about your children.
  5. If you are planning to travel with the children during the holiday season, your travel plans should be communicated to the children’s other parent early. You should not take the children away from their other parent during the holiday time without the other parent’s consent.
  6. If you happen to have the children all day on a certain holiday, be mindful of the other parent’s feelings and emotions that day – suggesting to your children to call their other parent for a short phone call and/or FaceTime will likely mean a lot to the other parent and may allow for a more amicable dissolution process.
  7. Do not try to “out do” the other parent by over spending to ensure your children are happy with you during the holiday time. Children don’t need unlimited gifts and presents, they need you and your time.
  8. On the days during your children’s winter break in which the children are in your care, brainstorm to come up with fun, thoughtful ideas of ways to spend quality time with your children.

The sooner you have a custody arrangement with the child’s other parent, the sooner you can relax with the fast approaching holidays. If you are going through a dissolution proceeding or thinking about filing the necessary paperwork to commence a dissolution proceeding, contact Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara where experienced attorneys will work towards alleviating the much anticipated stress that surrounds such a process.