How to Handle Shared Custody Around the Holidays

The holiday season is a notoriously stressful time for many people, and for those with shared custody of their children, it can present some complex challenges.

However, with a little planning and a dash of preparation, there’s no reason why your child’s festive celebrations won’t be as enjoyable as anyone else’s.

Plan Your Schedule

The first thing you need to tackle when organizing your holiday custody is to decide on how you’ll arrange your visitation schedule. Depending on your specific circumstances, the following options may be more – or less – preferable:

  • Alternate custody on an annual basis: this way, you can enjoy unbroken access to your children for the entirety of your holiday, then switch roles and allow your ex-partner to do the same the following year.
  • Split the holiday into separate halves: sharing custody means that both parents get to see their children over the holiday period, although this may require long and stressful travel time for your children.
  • Share the holiday together: it may be viable for both partners to be present and together with their children throughout the holiday, although this is often neither practical nor suitable.

Once you have settled on a suitable plan, be faithful to it. Last minute changes will only cause tension and chaos for both you and your children.

Put Your Children First

It is important to bear in mind that the holiday season is about creating a magical and unforgettable time for your children, and it is their welfare and enjoyment that should be uppermost in your plans.

As such, remember to make any transitions between you and your ex-partner as stress-free as possible. Try to mitigate difficult travel arrangements, and remember any outside commitments that your children might need to heed, such as academic/exam preparation, or their desire to spend time with friends or other family relations.

Expect the Unexpected

As the saying goes: the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. And they often go awry at the worst possible time – over the holidays.

If unforeseen circumstances do arise, it behooves you and your ex-partner to have an expedient method of resolving any conflicts that might spring from a change of plan. Normally, this would be through your respective attorneys, but given the time-sensitive nature of the festive season, it might be wiser for a mutually trusted family member to intervene and formulate a speedy compromise.

Stay optimistic

Don’t become overawed by the stress of the holiday season. Many good parents have succeeded in the past, and you will too. Plan, prepare and communicate – that way you’ll give your children the holiday they deserve.

If you’re hoping to address some concerns you have with your custody arrangements, contact the Vaught Law Firm today. We understand. We can help.

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