One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is navigating the chaotic holiday season, particularly when you have children. Although your marriage did not work out, you and your former spouse may agree that you want to make the holidays as happy, calm, and stress-free as possible for your children. While you may no longer be spending every holiday together as a family unit, you can still co-parent successfully and come up with a holiday schedule that works for both of you and prioritizes your children’s best interests.
If you and your spouse are newly divorced or looking for ways to be better co-parents, keep the following tips in mind.
Prioritize Your Children’s Needs
Whether you and your spouse had a collaborative divorce or the process was contentious, it is in everyone’s best interest to set aside your problems and focus on what is best for your children. Avoid arguing in front of the children or disparaging your former spouse. You should keep this in mind throughout the year and not just during the holidays.
Create a Holiday Schedule in Advance
The holidays are hectic, so it is recommended that you plan ahead and create a schedule that allows you and your ex to spend time with the children. Planning will help avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and arguments about schedules, visitation, and the time the children spend with you and your ex. There are a range of co-parenting schedules to consider, including splitting the holidays evenly, alternating holidays annually, or spending the holidays together if possible.
Even the best co-parenting plan may need to be revisited and modified if unexpected issues arise. For example, if your ex requests a last-minute change to the holiday schedule, be willing to compromise, discuss possible options, and agree to the change if it is in your children’s best interest.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Once you have agreed to a co-parenting plan, that does not mean the communication between you will stop, particularly during the holiday season when unexpected events can happen. If talking is challenging, address critical issues by sending an email or a text message.
Establish New Traditions
This will help you and your children focus your energy away from the fact that your family dynamic has changed. By including your children in this process, they will feel more in control of the circumstances.
Coordinate Gift Ideas
It is also wise to discuss with your ex what you will get the children and how much money you plan to spend. Avoid trying to compete with your ex by purchasing more gifts than you agreed on or spending more money on gifts than your ex.
Set Expectations for Your Children
Stress and anxiety can be avoided when your children know who they will spend the holidays with and everyone involved is comfortable with the plan. If your children have questions about the holiday schedule, be honest and discuss any concerns.
Our Bergen County Divorce Lawyers at TMO Law LLC Assist Clients With Co-Parenting Plans
If you are facing co-parenting challenges as you head into the holiday season, do not hesitate to contact our compassionate and skilled Bergen County divorce lawyers at TMO Law LLC. To schedule a consultation, call 201-971-4866 or complete our online form. Located in Paramus, New Jersey, we serve clients in Bergen County, Passaic, Morris, Essex, Hudson, and northern New Jersey.