The holidays are a challenging time for divorced or separated parents. Parents and children naturally want to spend as much time together as possible, but splitting the time fairly is sometimes tricky and can lead to heated disagreements and emotional turmoil.
Creating a mutually fair visitation plan for the holidays involves open communication and a clear focus. Both parents must be vested in working out the visitation schedule to avoid conflicts.
Visitation schedules are challenging to agree on, even when the parents have a cordial relationship. It is important to remember that both parents deserve equal time with their children, and working out the details will make the holidays happier for everyone involved.
1. Think About Your Child's Best Interests
The goal of creating a holiday visitation plan is to serve the needs of your child. It can be tempting to try to monopolize your child during the holidays as a way to punish the other parent, but this action punishes your child as well. If you both put your child first, it will be easier to draw up a feasible visitation schedule.
2. Always Plan Ahead
Do not wait until the last minute to develop a holiday visitation agreement. Ideally, it would be best to begin planning months or at least weeks in advance. If you find it challenging to work with your child's other parent, consider contacting your family attorney and have them mediate the situation. Put the visitation agreement in writing, even if an attorney or the courts do not handle it.
3. Consider Celebrating the Holidays Together
This option is not always possible, especially if there are hard feelings between the two parents. If the two of you still get along or at least can put aside your differences for the holidays, celebrating together can be helpful for everyone, especially your children.
4. Pursue Open Communication
The holidays are hectic, and schedules can change without warning. Open communication is critical to preventing issues between parents. Consider phone conversations, texting, and email communication to keep one another abreast of schedule changes. If you cannot communicate amicably, consider working through your attorneys.
5. Create New Holiday Traditions
Consider making new holiday traditions with your blended family and provide stability for your children in the long run. Keep children busy with fun activities that involve new traditions. Getting children accustomed to being away from one of their parents during the holidays is easier with new traditions that bring fun and excitement.
The holidays are a time to put aside your differences for the greater good of your children. It is not always easy to work with your ex, but your children need stability, especially during the holidays.
Parents should work together whenever possible to agree on holiday visitation schedules. Sometimes, the two parties cannot compromise and need to get the courts involved. Whether you agree together or go through the court system, it is wise to have legal representation. Working together to bring joy to your children during the holidays is worth the effort.