From a scheduling standpoint, the holidays for separated parents always seem to creep up on people unawares. Many co-parents tend to get caught a bit off guard whenever the festive season approaches. However, it is always prudent to prepare your parenting holiday schedule as early as you possibly can. We are all very enthusiastic and energetic about booking vacations and trips or even the decoration aspects of the holidays. Yet, many separated couples can’t find the time to review their custody order or double-check their holiday schedule before it’s too late. It seems this is a major putoff for many co-parents. Still, it is essential to double-check that everything is well in your mindset and well-arranged on your calendar. For example, you may want to exchange some time with your kids with your ex-partner during the holidays. So perhaps the children can spend some time with you on Thanksgiving morning rather than the afternoon.
Make sure changes to your holiday parenting schedule are written and notarized
On the other hand, if you alternate parenting time by the year, you want to ensure that it is well noted in your calendar to avoid the possibility of unpleasant surprises. If you and your co-parent do not have a set schedule or maybe you have both consented to a change in your holiday schedule, it is always wise to get that change in writing and more importantly, notarized. Even for the most well-intentioned co-parents, there can be a bit of a trade off when it comes to changing the holiday schedule. However, some co-parents are selfish and don’t readily follow through with the switches agreed upon.
For instance, you could have given up some of your parenting time, say for Thanksgiving and all the while hoping to get some extra time to spend with your kids during Christmas, but your ex-partner then balks. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do in such a predicament, legally speaking. You won’t be able to get much help from the court system. Courts of law tend to have a short staff closure during Christmas and the week leading up to New Year. During this given period, courts only prioritize processing emergency restraining order requests. In turn, this means any other emergency that arises over the festive season will not be deemed to be important by the court system. Therefore, it is always critical to get everything in writing and notarized to make these informal changes to your holiday schedule more formal.
Keep the interest of your children and co-parent in mind
Also, endeavor to be not only an honest, but a considerate co-parent. So unless it is impossible, never back out of plans you and your co-parent make for your kids over the holidays. This is particularly important for the well-being of your kids. Children always remember such moments and it can have a huge impact on them when the holidays are spent witnessing or being caught up in the middle of fights and conflicts between their parents. Typically, kids may forget many things that happen before and after their parents separate. Nevertheless, when it is something that occurs during their birthdays or over the holidays, they will always remember. They will always remember when you fight with your ex-partner or badmouth them behind their back over the holidays, and you do not want those to be the memories of your child. In most cases than not, they might prove to be dark marks on him or her as they grow older.
So always take all the time you need to refer to the custody order, negotiate out the co-parenting schedule whenever necessary and finally, have it written down on paper and notarized. Always make sure you are well versed with your holiday custody schedule and if you wish to change something, negotiate it early on, get it in writing and then try your best to keep the transition as amicable as possible. For your children’s sake you should try to keep holiday memories light and merry. This is not the time to get petty and pick little fights with your ex-partner. This is not the time to reprise things that happened in the past. What you need to do is maintain your kids’ emotional and mental peace and yours and your co-parent’s too.