Mediating Conflict,
Embracing Peace

Don’t forget to update your co-parent agreement for holidays

Your Washington neighborhood might be full of holiday decorations. Though, if you are going through a divorce process, stringing up lights probably isn’t a priority right now. Your mind might be elsewhere, and you may not feel as festive as you have in previous years.

With co-parenting as your goal, hopefully you and your ex can reach favorable settlement terms and minimize conflict in court. This holiday season, you might want to reflect on the special family gatherings you hold dear as you work toward developing a child custody agreement.

The holidays can factor into custody

Many parents don’t really know what to expect when it comes to co-parenting after divorce. In fact, some fail to consider how not having their family all under one roof anymore might significantly affect their children’s holidays, birthdays and other special occasions. The following list includes information that might be helpful to you:

  • Holiday gatherings are not the best time to discuss unresolved legal issues with your ex. Instead, make your children’s well-being your priority, to help them cope with your divorce and enjoy their future celebrations.
  • Even married couples typically find it easier to enjoy the holidays if they plan their events, often in writing, ahead of time. As a divorced parent, you can avoid a lot of confusion and, perhaps, arguments if you and your ex decide ahead of time where your children will spend each holiday throughout the year.
  • Try not to expect everything you plan to unfold exactly as you plan it. In other words, be prepared for the unexpected, and be willing to compromise or change plans as needed.
  • If you and your co-parent will be hosting separate gift-opening celebrations with your children, it’s a good idea to discuss your gift lists ahead of time, so the children don’t wind up getting doubles of everything.

Every family is unique, which means what works for one group of people might not be the best option for another. For instance, if you and ex get along fairly well, you might agree to spend a few holidays together so your children can enjoy spending time with both parents at once. However, two former spouses who can barely be in the same room without fighting might prefer spending separate holidays with their children.

What if a legal problem arises?

Nothing can turn a holiday ho-ho-ho spirit into a bah-humbug season faster than a post-divorce legal problem involving child custody or child support issues. The sooner you can resolve the problem, the better for everyone, especially the kids.

Not all problems are easily resolved, however, which is why it pays to know where to seek additional support if you encounter a particular issue that you don’t feel equipped to handle on your own.