With COVID-19 still at play, the holidays are certain to be different this year. However, they offer even more challenges to newly-single parents who have recently experienced a breakup or are in the modest of a divorce. Those who are trying to navigate not only holiday celebrations but also child custody can easily find themselves overwhelmed in the upcoming months. That is why we have put together a list of tips to help you plan ahead and get the most out of the season for both yourself and your children.
- Choose Your Favorite Activities Wisely. Every parent wants their child to be with them for every special part of the holidays; however, this may no longer be possible when sharing custody. Rather than fighting for every tradition, get together with your ex-partner to discover what traditions and activities are most important individually to each of you. Be willing to trade some so that your children can have their favorite memorable times with both parents.
- Be Open to New Experiences. No matter how much you may want things to stay the same, your life changes with a separation or divorce – especially when children are involved. Be open to creating fresh experiences and new traditions with your children. If you have to give up a special activity with your kids because of shared custody, take on a new tradition for just you and the kids. You never know — you might end up liking the new normal even better than the old!
- Don’t Keep to Yourself. When the kids are gone, don’t allow yourself to wallow in lonesome as holidays can cause a buildup of bitterness or resentment due to change. Rather than going solitary, take the time to get out with friends, visit family, and do some fun activities. View your time away from the kids as a mini-vacation!
- Don’t Forget the Kids! In the midst of a custody split, things can quickly become heated between parents. Before approaching a custody agreement, remember that your children should be the main focus and their needs coming first. Depending on the ages of your kids, it may be beneficial to talk to them about your holiday plans and let them have a voice in the time-share arrangement.
- Consider Mediation. Sometimes it can be impossible for newly-split couples to come to a consensus about the holidays – causing even more conflict. If you are finding it difficult to navigate holiday arrangements with your ex-partner, it may be in your best interest to reach out to an impartial mediator. don’t be afraid to reach out to an impartial mediator who can help with the process. Mediation is a potent process that bridges the gap between negotiation and litigation. In mediation, a third party facilitates negotiation between the parties and breaks an impasse by reducing emotion, increasing rationality, building a desire for resolution, helping come up with creative solutions, and providing a confidential channel for communicating real goals.
Dealing with not only the stress of the holidays but also the pandemic means a new divorce can be even more daunting than normally. The tips listed above can help keep your head above water and actually enjoy the holiday season. If you need legal advice about custody sharing during the holiday seasons, feel free to contact our offices! We will do whatever it takes to ensure that you can enjoy the holidays as much as possible while your kids get to enjoy time with both their parents.