Co-Parenting in the Holiday Season

happy children baking for holidays during christmas

The holiday season is a busy and stressful time for everyone. Add to that a co-parenting visitation agreement and two sets of celebrations, and you have a recipe for conflict. At Berman & Associates, our attorneys have strategies you can use to anticipate problems and resolve disputes, exercising effective co-parenting in the holiday season.

Set Your Co-Parenting Holiday Schedule Early

Most parents don’t leave enough time to resolve disputes that arise in working out their co-parenting holiday schedule. This creates tension when a last-minute holiday party forces everyone to rethink their plans. Start planning your holiday visitation schedule as early as possible. This will give you time to work things through with your co-parent and, if necessary, resolve disputes through mediation or in court.

At Berman Law, our family law attorneys help parents and even grandparents seeking holiday visitation create and enforce visitation schedules that put the children’s interests first. We can help you resolve the problem informally where possible to avoid co-parenting conflicts.

Default to Parenting Agreements to Resolve Conflicts

Remember that you don’t have to start from scratch every year in planning your holiday schedule with your kids. Pennsylvania parenting agreements almost always contain provisions that describe where the children will spend Christmas break, Thanksgiving, and other holidays. If you celebrate different holidays, the child custody lawyers at Berman & Associates can help you craft a parenting agreement that recognizes your most important days and divides them in a way that is fair to parents and children alike.

You have the right to insist that your co-parent follow the parenting agreements entered in your case. Parents are always allowed to agree on adjustments and are even encouraged to do so if it is in the children’s best interest. However, if your former spouse is making unreasonable demands, or is ignoring your reasonable requests, we can help you file a motion to enforce or modify the existing parenting agreements so that your children can have the best holiday possible.

Plan Parallel Celebrations in High-Conflict Co-Parenting Situations

You may have read that it is good for children to see their divorced parents come together for the holidays. That can be true, if your relationship with your ex-spouse allows it. However, sometimes, co-parents are simply unable to get along, even long enough to celebrate a dinner or open some presents. After a high-conflict divorce or custody battle, the tensions between ex-spouses can sometimes create a hostile environment that will do more harm than good for children stuck in the middle. In high-conflict cases, it may be best to plan parallel celebrations, keeping the households entirely separate. By celebrating a day or two earlier or later than the holiday itself, you can preserve the peace and goodwill of your home, and give your kids something to look forward to for the holidays even if it isn’t on the precise calendar day. Our divorce and family law team can help you consider your circumstances and decide if pushing for a joint celebration will be beneficial, or simply create more conflict.

Consider Budgets and Coordinated Gift-Giving to Avoid Post-Holiday Returns

Many parents don’t think about how gift-giving can create holiday conflict. However, when one parent has more financial means than the other (even after child support has been paid), it can create hard feelings between co-parents, and between parent and child. If you and your ex-spouse have different budgets, think about ways to even the playing field, such as giving gifts from both parents or “Santa” rather than making one parent look more generous than the other.

Coordinating gift-giving also avoids the chances that both parents will give the same gift, or that one parent will give a gift that creates a custody issue, such as a smartphone, without talking to the other parent first. By exchanging your shopping lists before heading to the store, you can discuss issues that arise ahead of time, and avoid having to stand in line for post-holiday returns.

At Berman & Associates, we know coordinating co-parenting in the holiday season can be hard. We are here to help. We can review your situation and provide you with potential solutions, both in and out of court, that will reduce conflict, resolve disputes, and let you focus on making your days with your children merry and bright. Contact us to speak with our Pennsylvania divorce team and see how we can help you with your holiday parenting concerns.

Categories: Divorce, Family Law

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