The Holiday Season is the most wonderful time of the year for children. It’s time to be thankful and be surrounded by family and friends who they love. It’s fun and should be full of laughter and joy, but unfortunately, for families with parents who are divorced or separated, it can be very stressful for children.
As parents, we want to make the holidays as special and magical as we can for our children. In order to do that, though, we need to keep conflict with the other parent to a minimum, keep the focus on our child and do our best to make happy memories for them to cherish for years to come. Here are 5 strategies our top family law attorneys suggest employing to avoid holiday parenting time disputes and reduce conflict between co-parents.
5 Ways to Avoid Co-Parenting Disputes During the Holidays
1. Communication Between Co-Parents is Key
It is important to communicate well in advance with the other parent to confirm the specific dates and exchange times for holiday parenting time, especially if you are splitting the holiday break. We often see situations in which one parent will not calculate the splitting of the break correctly, go ahead and make travel plans only to find out later that they were wrong and have to change or cancel their travel plans or ask the court to intervene. By communicating your proposed plans in advance with the other parent, any miscalculations can be addressed in advance, minimizing hurt feelings, blame, and unneeded expense.
2. Be Flexible With Your Co-Parenting Schedule During the Holidays
There may be an occasion where you or the other parent wants to deviate from the court-ordered holiday parenting time to accommodate a special event they wish to attend with the child that occurs during the other parent’s time or a trip out of town to spend time with relatives that require an extra day or a few extra hours of travel. As long as the request is reasonable and legitimate, it is a good co-parenting gesture to make the accommodation by switching days or granting or trading additional hours, which ultimately benefits your child.
3. Be on Time When Dropping Your Children Off to Co-Parents
Nothing starts conflict better than to drop off a child late to the other parent for the beginning of their parenting time, especially over the holidays. If you can drop off the child a few minutes early or right on time, the other parent will be thankful and hopefully will return the favor to you. If you are running late, communicate with the other parent as soon as possible the reason for the delay and your estimated arrival time. Avoiding confrontation in front of the child is imperative.
4. Be Respectful to the Other Parent
It is a good-faith gesture to have your child call the other parent to wish them a happy holiday when they are not sharing the holiday with that parent. The favor may or may not be returned; however, it shows your child that you support their relationship with the other parent and often reduces their anxiety. In turn, it is respectful to the other parent not to excessively call or FaceTime the child during the other party’s holiday parenting time so they can spend that special time uninterrupted with their parent.
5. Defuse Any Conflict in Advance
Children love to give gifts to the ones they love, whether it be a $2.00 item from the Santa Shoppe at school or a card or small gift they pick out at the store for the other parent. This is another small gesture that makes the child feel good and may defuse any conflict that might occur at the exchange.
Contact Top Michigan Family Lawyers Today
For many families the tips we have given work wonders, and for other families, they do not. If faking it to make it doesn’t work and the only avenue is to seek assistance from the Court, our Team of accomplished family law attorneys at The Cronin Law Firm, PLLC, have over 56 years of cumulative experience and expertise to handle all levels of conflict. Our Team provides a high level of quality care and service to our clients and we genuinely strive to resolve your custody, parenting time or child support matters as efficiently and painlessly as possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Michigan family attorneys. We wish you a very happy holiday season!