If you are currently involved in a domestic relations case, you likely have a temporary visitation schedule for the upcoming holidays. You may have agreed on this schedule with your co-parent, or the judge may have ordered it to your utter frustration. In any case, your children now have to spend the holidays in two (or more) homes. Here are some basic tips to help make the most out of your kids, and you, having two homes for the holidays.
- This first tip should be understood, but make sure to shield your kids from any heightened conflict with your co-parent. The case itself is enough of a disruption for your children, exposing them to parental conflict during the holidays will only increase their stress and anxiety. And, if this conflict is due to any of your conduct, then it may also be used against you in further legal proceedings. You should always be on your best behavior with your co-parent in front of the kids, especially during the holiday season.
- Be careful not to overcommunicate with your co-parent during their parenting time. Their time is their time, your time is your time. That said, you should also avoid being petty in disallowing any reasonable contact with the other parent. Be reasonable, use your best judgment, while also being respectful of the other’s time and family traditions. To help with this, consider downloading and using a parenting app with your co-parent, such as OurFamilyWizard or TalkingParents. These and other apps help monitor your communications and provide an easy and accessible way to document your contacts with the other side.
- Do not use the magic of the holiday season – and nothing more – as a reason to try and reconcile with the other side. Of course, if you have been reconciling for reasons other than the holidays that is a different story. However, the holidays are a time when everyone’s emotions and nostalgia for the past are elevated. Guard against the holidays being the sole reason for getting back into what is otherwise an unhealthy, unsafe relationship.
- Remember what your custody case is always about – the best interest of your children. That said, try to show some grace, patience and gratitude toward each other, even if you believe your co-parent may or may not have “earned it.” This grace to the other side will go a long way, for both your children and your case. When in doubt about what to do or how to respond to something the other has done please reach out to trusted friends, family, or your attorney before making a hasty response.
- Take care of yourself – physically, mentally, and emotionally. This means staying plugged in to your support networks of family and friends, considering therapy if you are not already in therapy, and otherwise maintaining as much normalcy as possible to your daily routines.
Your kids now have at least two homes for the holidays. These and other common-sense tips on being reasonable, decent, and gracious under the circumstances will be beneficial for your kids and also your case. For further assistance and advice with this and other legal issues, please contact the experienced team of family law experts at Slowiaczek Albers & Whelan, PC, LLO to schedule your initial consultation.