Handling Child Custody Over the Holidays

Now that it’s December, we are deep in the holiday season. Starbucks is selling its holiday beverages, outdoor shopping centers have put up their big trees, the Christmas lights have gone up on homes, fires have started crackling, and hot cocoa has been brewing.

The holidays can bring all kinds of warm, fuzzy feelings for people, but if you’re a parent going through a divorce, suddenly you’re thinking about how you’re going to share or divide the holidays with your soon-to-be-former spouse – not necessarily a “warm” thought for most people. In this article, we explain how divorcing parents usually address child custody during the holiday season.

Option #1: Spend Them Together

Do you get along well with your ex? If you have a reasonably good relationship with him or her, you have the option of spending the holidays together as one big happy family. And what if significant others enter the picture? You don’t have to exclude them. Instead, invite them along and make them feel welcome at the family gatherings.

Option #2: Alternate Holidays

Spending the holidays with one’s ex is not everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps you can’t stand your ex or perhaps there’s a lot of bad blood and you simply aren’t comfortable being in the same room together. If for any reason you do not want to spend the holidays together with the kids, another option is to alternate holidays and rotate them each year.

Advice for High-Conflict Families

If you have a high-conflict family, our advice is to create a very detailed Parenting Plan that addresses each holiday and how you’re going to handle it. When the holiday arrives, stick to whatever was outlined in the Parenting Plan and don’t deviate from it. As time goes by, you and your ex will slowly be able to re-establish trust and hopefully reach a more flexible arrangement. This usually happens as time heals and the dust settles from the divorce.

Next: Should I Stay Off Social Media During Divorce?

To file for divorce, contact Claery & Hammond, LLP for a free consultation.