Getting divorced at any time of the year can be stressful, especially when you share minor children with your ex-spouse. However, the holiday season can pose particular challenges, and co-parenting can produce anxieties for everyone in the family.
Whether you are in the middle of a divorce case and are anticipating you will be sharing child custody during the holidays, or if your divorce was recently finalized and you are making plans for the holiday season, it is important to think about ways to make co-parenting work. Although it can be difficult and complex, it is possible to effectively co-parent, despite the stress of the holiday season. The following are some tips you should consider to make co-parenting a success.
Put Your Kids First
For recently divorced or divorcing spouses in Texas, it can be difficult to set aside your frustrations with one another. Yet, putting your children first, no matter what can help to make co-parenting during the holidays happier and healthier for everyone. The holiday season is a joyful time for children, and it is one of the most important times of the year to compromise with your ex. For example, even if you really want to have your children on Christmas morning – you might know that your kids are accustomed to Christmas mornings with your ex’s family, and that the first Christmas apart will be easier for your children if you stick with tradition.
By prioritizing your children during the holidays, it can be easier to focus on their needs while putting your frustrations with your ex aside for the time being.
Make Plans for the Holidays
If you are developing an agreed parenting plan according to the Texas Family Code, it is critical to make plans for the holiday season. Assuming that co-parents are joint managing conservators under Texas law, having a specific plan and schedule for the holidays will help to prevent conflict. Your children will know in advance how they will be spending the holiday season, and both you and your ex can make plans — both in terms of time spent with the children and time spent on your own.
In addition to making time-sharing plans, it is also helpful to discuss gifts for your children ahead of time with your ex. If you can communicate with your ex, even if it is via e-mail or text, co-parenting can be more successful if you work out in advance who will buy specific gifts for the children. Ultimately, if you do not make a plan for the holiday season, co-parenting can be significantly more complicated and contentious at this time of the year.
As You Make Plans, Plan to Be Flexible
Even if you make a plan for co-parenting with your ex during the holiday season, keep in mind things can change and you may need to be flexible. Family members could get sick and cancel plans, and other unexpected events can occur. If you go into the holiday season recognizing there is a need to approach co-parenting with some flexibility, you will have an easier time if plans do need to change.
Seek Advice from a Dallas Child Custody Lawyer
If you have questions about planning for co-parenting during the holiday season, or if you need to seek a modification of your parenting plan, one of our Dallas child custody attorneys can help. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP today.