When you filed for divorce, you no doubt had several primary issues on your mind, such as property division and other financial matters. Like most Texas parents, you probably also wanted to ensure that your children’s best interests were a central focus of all proceedings. What you didn’t want was to fight over child custody issues.
Children typically fare best in a divorce when they maintain active relationships with both parents. Whether you share custody or have a custodial/visitation arrangement, what matters most is achieving an agreement that is best for your kids. With the holidays just around the corner, it is important to develop a co-parenting plan to help avoid conflict.
Talk about child custody ahead of time
Waiting until the last minute to decide where your kids will spend each holiday could backfire on you, big time, especially if you and your ex disagree and need to negotiate a compromise. To avoid child custody disputes, you can arrange a meeting ahead of time, either in person or via text messaging or virtual chat, etc., to talk about holiday details and to work out an agreeable plan.
The easiest way to ensure that both parents have plenty of holiday time with the kids is to split time equally between you. There are 24 hours in a day, so children can spend half the day with one parent and half with the other. If you and your ex get along well, you might even decide to share a holiday together, so that your kids enjoy the company of both parents, at once.
Don’t leave gifts and activities up for grabs
When you were married to your ex, you likely shared financial responsibility for special activities and gifts during the holidays. After your divorce, it is a good idea to discuss such issues, even to determine which parent will buy which gifts, to avoid duplicates. You can also discuss whether your kids will have similar items at both households, such as bicycles, or whether they will transport one item back and forth to each house.
Remember what is most important during the holidays
Divorce is never easy. You might have a lot of hurt feelings due to past marital problems. If there is conflict between you and your ex during the holidays, your kids will no doubt notice it. Studies show that parent conflict can impede a child’s ability to cope with divorce. If child custody issues arise, have a set course of action in mind for resolving such problems.
This can help keep minor problems from turning into a full-blown crisis. Divorce causes many changes in a family’s life, but there’s no reason that you and your children cannot still enjoy the holidays, especially if you have a support system in place to help resolve any custody problems that arise.