The holiday season is fast approaching and with it comes the excitement and stress of gift buying, decorating, and increased family and social gatherings. The kids get excited with Halloween and everything ramps up from there!
As parents, we can’t help but get excited for our children, even as our workloads increase to deal with changing schedules and increased childcare. For divorced parents, the holidays can require extra cooperation and flexibility from all parties. Sharing custody is never easy, but during the holidays, there are plenty of chances for new issues to arise. Here are some tips on how to avoid conflicts, ensure smooth communication and do all you can top provide an exciting and memorable holiday season for your kids.
- Apply the Golden Rule when you’re working with your co-parent. Treat them in the manner you would like to be treated. Good co-parenting relationships require good communication and reasonable flexibility on both sides, even when it’s not easy to accomplish. If you require some flexibility for holiday travel plans with your children, ask your co-parent for more time or flexible dates. Although they are only required to abide by the terms of the Parenting Plan, your co-parent is more likely to agree if you ask pleasantly and show your willingness to cooperate.
- Write it down. If your co-parenting agreement requires notification regarding your chosen holiday dates, make sure you abide by it, and put every communication in writing. To avoid any misunderstandings, make sure all communications are straight-forward and to the point.
- Work together with your co-parent to decide who is responsible for childcare, parties, and extracurricular activities, and put it in writing. This includes clarifying who is handling payments and the transportation logistics. If there are multiple children going different ways, a shared Google calendar might help avoid miscommunication.
- Maintain written records. If your co-parent becomes uncooperative and non-compliant to the Parenting Plan terms, it might be necessary to keep an ongoing record of events and communication. If the other parent does not comply with the Parenting Plan agreement, they can be held in contempt of court, which can lead to custody modifications. By keeping a written record as evidence, handling such cases is a simpler process.
- Teach your children by example. Keep your emotions under control and avoid hostile behavior towards the other parent, especially in front of your children. Not only is it stressful for the children, but your bad behavior could be used against you in the future and that benefits no one. Remember, your children will model their own behavior on how their parents treat others, including one another. The holidays are a glorious time to be a kid. With a little pre-planning, flexibility and open communication with your co-parent, you can ensure that your kids have a great time, and return to their regular routine refreshed and ready to start the new year.
Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm PC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm has offices in Dunwoody/Sandy Springs and serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.