No matter how long you’ve been divorced from your ex, co-parenting is always a little stressful. Between extracurricular activities, vacations, and breaks from school, you need to be in near-constant communication with your children’s other co-parent. The stresses that come with co-parenting are a little more intense during the winter holidays.
No matter how daunting the next few weeks seem, you can rise to the occasion and organize a joyous time for your children. You owe it to them—and yourself. Below, we have some pointers for making the holidays a special time for everyone as a co-parent.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
The importance of effective communication and keeping the other co-parent in the loop cannot be overstated. Before setting any plans in stone, look back over your parenting plan and standard possession orders. These court-approved documents will set out the requirements for visitation (physical custody) during the winter holidays. For instance, you might have the kids for Thanksgiving on odd years and years and Christmas on even years. Or, you and your ex might split winter break right down the middle, handing off the kids on Dec. 28.
2. Be flexible.
Communicating with your children’s other co-parent will help ensure nobody is left out of holiday planning, which is one of the most common causes of holiday co-parenting disputes. The second main cause of these disputes is being overly rigid with respect to holiday visitation. Yes, it is important to follow the standard possession order when appropriate, which is most of the time.
Let’s say, however, that the other co-parent wants to take the kids to see an aging relative on their side of the family. You should strongly consider approving the trip even if it falls outside the normal holiday visitation schedule. Giving the other co-parent some grace this year can help soften the ground for a future trip of your own that may not fall within the existing standard possession order.
3. Decide which traditions to keep, and which to leave in the past.
Going forward, the holidays simply won’t be the same as they used to be for your kids. This will cause them some stress and discomfort early on, partly because children thrive on routines. So, if your family has cultivated a holiday tradition your kids look forward to every year, try your best to accommodate that tradition in your new normal.
Conversely, some traditions might stir up unpleasant feelings without the other co-parent present. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to brainstorm some new traditions. Ask your children what they might like to do—after all, keeping your kids as safe and happy as possible is your main objective throughout the winter holidays.
Need Clarity on Your Holiday Standard Possession Order?
If you’ve been operating on the same parenting plan for years, it might be time for a modification. Situations change, and your kids might be better served by a different arrangement this year. Or, perhaps you and your ex are embroiled in a dispute over holiday visitation.
For any help with a Texas family law court order, reach out to our caring team today. We can take a stressful legal situation and help implement a resolution efficiently and effectively.
Kimbrough Legal, PLLC
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Austin, TX 78735
Kimbrough Legal, PLLC
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San Antonio, TX 78217