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Child Custody and the Holidays

Child Custody and the Holidays

By: M. Scott Gordon

The start of the New Year can be a stressful time for newly divorced spouses, especially when they are just beginning to grow accustomed to the routines of shared parenting. To be sure, child custody issues can feel particularly pronounced during the holiday season, a time in which families are used to being together. What can you do to help ensure that the holidays are as stress-free as possible for you and your children? According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, child custody concerns do not need to take away from an enjoyable holiday season.

Tips for Shared Parenting During the Holiday Season

Here are some tips for shared parenting around the holidays that can help both you and your kids to make the most of this time of year:

  • Communicate with your ex-spouse as often as necessary: if you are thinking about taking your kids out of town for Thanksgiving or in December, it is important to let the other parent know as soon as possible. And if your plans involve spending a few extra days with your children than usual, check with the other parent. The same goes for planning out holiday travel. Before you purchase plane tickets or rent a car, be sure to communicate your plans.
  • Plan ahead: communicating with your ex-spouse can be especially important around the holidays, but it is also important to plan ahead for travel and school vacation. As we mentioned above, if you want to take your children on a trip during the long this time, do not wait until the last minute to run it by your ex-spouse. Instead, plan ahead and check with the other parent as soon as you have a handle on your own plans.
  • Respond truthfully and firmly to the other parent: if your ex-spouse wants to take your children on a vacation, but you do not approve of the plan, let the other parent know immediately. Silently acquiescing—only to later object to a travel plan—can make your relationship with your ex-spouse tense, and it can also involve your children in unnecessary ways.
  • Cooperate with your ex-spouse: even if you feel frustrated by your ex-spouse’s requests for time with the children over the holidays, it is a good idea to be as cooperative as possible. It is more than likely that you may make a similar request at a point in the not-too-distant future, and cooperating with your ex-spouse now can help to ensure that your ex cooperates with you down the road.
  • Allow and encourage your kids to visit with your former in-laws: your children have not gotten divorced, and it is important to keep that in mind when they want to visit with grandparents and other family members on your ex’s side.
  • Download a child custody and visitation app to help with scheduling: the holiday season can be particularly tricky when it comes to planning out your children’s schedules and determining when they are spending time with you and your ex-spouse. Thanks to new technology, parents can download apps that help them to schedule time and vacations with their kids without having to contact an ex with every calendar-related question. And having a shared calendar on an app can also help to prevent misunderstandings about physical custody during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Child custody and the Holidays can be complicated, and they often intensify over the holidays. If you have questions or concerns about child custody or shared parenting, an experienced Chicago child custody attorney can help. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates today to learn more about our services.