The holiday season is a difficult time to navigate for any family, but for children and parents who have been through divorce, there is an added level of stress. Schedules are tight, and children also feel the loss of traditions they may have enjoyed when you were still married to your spouse. By employing simple co-parenting strategies and seeking guidance from your legal representation at Schmidt Law, you can tackle this tough season with finesse.
When you commit to co-parent, you put your child’s needs first. Co-parenting is participating fully in joint custody agreements, allowing each parent to build and sustain a healthy relationship with their children. Couples who co-parent after divorce still make parenting decisions together. Both are legally entitled take interest in day-to-day activities, and each do their best to provide emotional and physical support whenever it is needed.
Essentially, your marriage is over, but your responsibility to your children changes very little. This is a challenging route for estranged couples, as they must make a commitment to firm communication, frequent visits, and cordial interaction. Generally, co-parenting with two capable, loving adults is the best for a child’s emotional health and adjustment after divorce.
Holiday Co-Parenting Tips
Co-parenting successfully takes practice, but you’ll be more successful during the bustling holiday season if you’re prepared. Here are some tips that can help you stay committed to co-parenting:
- Cooperate when making plans. Don’t plan a ski trip or similar excursion for the kids without telling your ex-spouse. Before setting any plans in stone, have a conversation to plan for special activities and equal time division, especially if those any activities will reduce one parent’s access during special days like Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Decide which events are the most important to the children as you plan time sharing. Also, address how much money each parent will spend on gifts to avoid competition or hard feelings.
- Keep old traditions when you can. The loss of familiarity can be especially hard for children to handle during holidays. Divorce can often mean a new home or step parent. Keeping normalcy can help bring some predictability back into the season. If you normally went out to eat a specific restaurant on Christmas Eve, or if you went to a local church for worship services, continue to do so, and try to do it with both parents present. If you can’t, be sure that old traditions are shared equally between each partner.
- Start new traditions that children can enjoy with individual parents. Talk to your ex about making time for each child during the busy season. Maybe children go gift shopping every year with one partner, and make sugar cookies together with the other. Establishing new family times with each parent can keep child-parent relationship strong.
- Don’t make your children responsible for your holiday happiness. Divide up special days evenly, and try to refrain from bad-mouthing your spouse or putting children in the middle of making the plans. Kids want both parents to be happy, and they don’t like to choose between them; forcing them to do so only heightens feelings of guilt that children can experience post-divorce. Instead, use your visitation agreement as the guide for time division. Try to be positive about planning — if you can’t be positive about the plans, remain neutral instead of falling into negativity.
Legal Guidance from Schmidt &
If you have questions about co-parenting and joint custody, speak with a lawyer at Schmidt Law. They offer a range of family law services, including visitation agreements, custody cases, and divorce meditation. Contact us here for a free 30-minute consultation, or call 801-895-3113 to speak with one of our experienced legal professionals today.