Halloween decorations may be starting to appear in your neighborhood, but before you know it, the holiday season will be in full swing. Planning can be tricky if you share custody of your children with a former spouse or partner.
With Labor Day behind us and school in full swing, it’s an opportune time to firm up holiday travel plans, starting with the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. If this is your first year sharing custody with an ex, checking your custody agreement is crucial.
Tips to ensure a joyous holiday season
Many experts expect this fall to be the busiest time for traveling in nearly three years. That’s due to easing COVID restrictions and falling gas prices. But before you book your flights or hotels, here are five steps to consider:
- Review your parenting plan: Most custody and visitation agreements spell out where your children will spend the holidays. Detailed plans may also include pick-up and drop-off itineraries. Talk to your co-parent and confirm those plans before sharing them with your kids.
- Is court permission required?: Many parenting plans allow for flexibility, meaning you and your co-parent can agree to change the schedule when it makes sense. Read the fine print or talk to your lawyer if you’re unsure if you can change the plan without the court’s permission.
- Be on the same page: Custody arrangements come in all shapes and sizes. But remember that the most important thing is focusing on your child’s happiness. Put your children’s needs ahead of any conflicts with your ex.
- Write it all down: If your holiday plans change from year to year, make sure you and your co-parent put everything in writing and sign the document. That can alleviate any confusion and help both of you avoid the potential for legal action later on.
- Bask in the joy of the season: Divorce is stressful, especially if you have kids. The stress of the holidays can create more headaches. But don’t allow those feelings to escalate into bad feelings and arguments. You and your kids have been through a lot so focus on their best interests.
Finally, never speak badly about your ex, especially in front of your kids. Doing everything you can to make the season memorable in a good way can pay dividends for everyone.