Whether you’ll be a custodial or non-custodial parent, if you’re navigating divorce as they 2019 holiday season unfolds, you might be feeling a bit anxious and concerned about your children. Like all good parents, you want them to enjoy this special time of year; however, you also want to make sure you protect your parental rights and ensure your ex fully adheres to the terms of the court order the judge overseeing your case will issue when he or she finalizes your divorce.
If you haven’t yet written the terms of your co-parenting plan, you’ll want to consider incorporating detailed instructions regarding the holidays, such as where your kids will spend each special holiday throughout the year, whether you and your ex will both be present for any special occasion, school event, etc., or whether you will trade off from one holiday to the next or one year to the next. Getting it all in writing can help avoid legal complications down the line.
Alternative celebration dates can come in handy
Perhaps, you’re feeling down because your co-parenting agreement states that your children will be spending a particular holiday at their co-parent’s house. A bit of creative thinking can help you and your kids to share holiday joy together as well. For instance, you can plan a celebration before they leave for their co-parent’s house or upon their return.
You can also make sure your ex provides your kids access to a cell phone, computer or other device so that they can touch base with you on the actual calendar date of a holiday. Many Texas parents use electronic apps like FaceTime or Duo to enjoy video chats with their kids when they can’t be with them in person.
Children will want to give gifts to both parents
If it’s a usual family custom for your children to give their parents a gift on birthdays or other holidays, they’ll want to do this after your divorce. Sending them to your ex’s house empty handed on a holiday might be what you feel like doing, especially if you harbor ill feelings toward him or her. However, your children may feel more at ease and enjoy their holidays if you help them choose and wrap a gift or prepare some baked goods for their other parent.
Ways to boost your children’s holiday spirit
Navigating a new co-parenting plan during the holidays can definitely make everyone feel a little down. Children, especially, may feel sad or start to miss the old family traditions you shared when you and their other parent were still living under the same roof. You can allow them to continue some of those traditions, even if it involves your former in-laws, for instance. If you’re comfortable inviting them to dinner, there’s no reason not to do so if it makes your kids happy.
It’s best to get things in writing
If you plan to travel with your kids during the holidays or feel strongly about spending a particular occasion with them, it’s best to incorporate such details into the terms of your co-parenting agreement. This way, the court can issue a child custody order to which you and your ex must adhere. This leaves little room for confusion or dispute when it comes time to determine where your children will be spending the numerous holidays or special events in their lives while you and they adapt to a post-divorce lifestyle.