For children, the holiday season is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. From trick or treating to Christmas parties, there's always something to look forward to.
As a divorced parent, sharing custody during the holidays is often a challenge. Since both you and your ex want to spend as much time as possible with your children, it's critical to plan as far in advance as you can.
Here are some of the many steps you can take to successfully share custody during the holidays:
- Lean on your parenting agreement: There's a good chance your parenting agreement outlines what's expected of you during the holidays. For example, it may state that your children spend holidays during even numbered years with you and odd numbered years with your ex. Your visitation agreement can also guide you during this busy time of the year.
- Talk it out in advance: Let your ex know what plans you have, while also asking them what they have on their schedule. This allows you to firm up your plans in advance, which reduces the likelihood of a disagreement in the future.
- Split the day: It may be possible for your children to spend time with both parents on the holidays. For instance, they can spend the morning hours of Christmas day at your home, while then spending time with their other parent in the evening. This is the best of both worlds.
- Spend the holidays together: It doesn't work for everyone, but don't shy away from the idea of spending the holidays together as a family. Doing so allows you and your ex to spend time with your children, while also giving them the stability they crave during the holidays.
Even if you do your best to share custody during the holidays, your ex may continue to make things difficult. A common example is not returning your children on time after a scheduled visit.
If you continue to run into issues, discuss them with your ex in the hope of clearing the air and getting back on track. Also, you have legal rights as a parent in New Jersey, so don't hesitate to seek a custody modification if necessary.