The holidays might feel as if they are still far away, but soon enough you and your family will be decorating and enjoying the last few months of the year. If you are divorced or are currently in the process, you need to address your holiday custody schedule before those big days roll around. Even if you have a current custody plan that addresses holidays, it is a good idea to discuss the plan again to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
If you are thinking of waiting to see how things play out before deciding where your child will spend certain holidays, you may end up dealing with a difficult situation. For example, what happens if you and your ex both decide that you would like to take your child to visit extended family members at the same time? If you have not already decided how to split custody over the holidays then this will probably lead to a serious conflict.
Start talking about the holidays early
It is never too early to think about your holiday custody schedule. No matter what time of year parents go through a divorce, they are probably thinking ahead to how the holidays will look once they are sharing custody of their children. These parents usually include a holiday schedule in their agreement. The schedule can rely on a number of factors, including religious observations as well as how important a certain holiday is to a parent.
If you did not include this information in your agreement or if there has been a change of plans, you need to start talking about the holidays now. You and your ex might quickly work out a schedule that works for everyone involved, but it is not always that easy. If you have any disputes, you will need time to work out those issues.
Rethink your favorite traditions
You know that the divorce was hard for your child too, and you want to continue some of your favorite family traditions. While you might be able to keep up with some of those traditions, working around your child custody agreement can make it hard. Instead of focusing on preserving the past, you and your child can use your time together to create new traditions.
Focusing on what you can do with your child instead of what you used to do is also very beneficial. Children often feel as if they have to please both of their parents, especially during the holidays. This places a lot of pressure on a child when you could instead simply enjoy the time you do have together.
Remember, it is about your child
Most everyone has fond memories of the holidays. Whether you always visited your grandparents’ neighborhood for trick-or-treating or spent Christmas morning making pancakes with your family, it is understandable to want to recreate these memories for your child. However, trying to force a custody schedule around these activities may not be beneficial to your child and can cause even more stress during the holiday.
Like with everything involving your child, your holiday custody schedule should reflect his or her best interests. If your ex is refusing to follow your current custody arrangement or is making unreasonable demands for your child’s time, it might be time to get help. An attorney who is knowledgeable of Arizona family law can help you address this problem in an appropriate manner.