How to make holiday child-custody schedules work for parents
Sharing candy loot after Halloween, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner and opening presents on Christmas eve or morning are among the fondest memories many California families make and remember years later. But when parents decide to divorce, these memories are in danger of fading away as both parties figure out legal issues, especially child custody.
Child-custody settlements determine just how each parent will take part in a child’s upbringing after divorce. These decisions include visitation arrangements, parenting time and ultimately parenting schedules. A parenting schedule has a significant role in helping children achieve an ordered life that minimizes chaos.
If divorced parents decide to follow a custody schedule, then they may have to figure out how that schedule will work during the holiday season to avoid confusion and address issues that could create conflict between parents and even between parents and children. Simple planning can head off last-minute panic and abrupt alterations that would affect the children.
If parents do not have a parenting or custody schedule, then they may need to sit down and discuss holiday arrangements separately from other custody issues.
During their discussion, both parents should encourage each other to suggest things they want to do during the holidays, whether observing specific Thanksgiving or Christmas traditions, arranging drop-off schedules or attending parties that both parents can enjoy. In doing so, both parents can be assured that the happiness of their children is first and foremost, not the emotional issues that ended their marriage and continued into their divorce.
Divorced parents should remember that children usually look forward to holiday season. Regardless of specific parenting schedules and plans, what matters are the new memories that parents can create with their children. Those memories should be warm. Planning holidays ahead of time may help children recall those times with joy.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Holiday Parenting Schedule: Make a List and Check It Twice,” Nicole H. Sodoma and Robin Goulet, Oct. 25, 2013