Families in Maryland and throughout the country are gearing up for the 2023 holiday season. If you visit the nearest department store, you will find shelves stocked with a variety of festive items, including fall and Thanksgiving decorations and everything you might need to deck the halls for Christmas, as well.
For some families, such as those who are currently navigating divorce, it might take more than new decorations to have a joyful holiday this year. In fact, if you are a parent who is getting divorced, you might want to create a plan to avoid child custody disputes, which can ruin the holidays for kids and parents alike.
Holiday-proof your child custody plan
Every family is unique, and you and your ex might come from different backgrounds where one of you celebrates a particular holiday and the other does not. Then again, you might both typically celebrate the same holiday customs. Either way, it pays to discuss all holidays and special events ahead of time to devise a plan that helps you and your ex avoid disputes.
You can begin by creating a holiday custody schedule. There are no set rules regarding where your children must spend their holidays (unless, of course, you have a court order that restricts or prohibits visitation). There are several ways to approach a holiday calendar after divorce. The following list provides some examples:
- Both parents can be present during holiday parties.
- You can rotate holidays by year, with each parent taking a turn.
- Another option is to celebrate the same holiday on separate days.
- You can also divide a day in half, with the kids spending part of the holiday with one parent, then the rest of the day with the other.
If you are not set on celebrating each holiday on its exact date, such as Christmas on December 25, the option of celebrating the same holiday on separate days might be a good one for you. Your kids can celebrate with you on one day, then enjoy the same holiday with their other parent on a different day.
Keeping children’s best interests in mind is a top priority
Child custody disputes and legal problems are less likely when a set of parents can cooperate and devise a plan that keeps the peace and enables children to enjoy holiday customs with both parents. Another factor to consider regarding child custody and the holidays is finances. If you are going to buy gifts or take a trip, etc., it’s a good idea to discuss expenses ahead of time.
Whether you split the cost equally or take turns funding each holiday is up to you. What matters most is achieving an agreeable plan, seeking the court’s approval, then sticking to it, which will help your kids cope with your divorce and continue to enjoy their holidays.