The holidays can be stressful for any family, but especially those parents living in separate households. Balancing shared custody with what will provide your children with wonderful holiday memories can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Here are 3 tips for separated and divorced parents to reduce stress and anxiety during the holidays.
Make your children the priority. By always making the children’s well-being and happiness the top priority, separated and divorced parents are working towards a common goal. The result: happier kids and as a bonus, reduced stress for their parents.
Plan ahead. Before you commit to travel or event plans, consider your holiday (as opposed to “regular”) parenting schedule, which should be set forth in your Custody Order or Agreement. Don’t have one? If coming to a firm agreement with the other parent isn’t possible, it may be time to consult a family law attorney.
Communicate with the other parent. Once you’ve got your planning “wish list” in hand, or have reviewed your Custody Order or Agreement, it is time to communicate with the other parent. Do not assume the other parent understands your expectations for the holiday schedule. To reduce potential conflict, it is important that both parents come to an understanding, especially before communicating holiday plans to the children.
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By taking the steps outlined above, and by always, always keeping your child’s happiness top of mind, the path to creating new, fulfilling traditions can be smoothed.
Amanda Cannavo is a family law attorney at Sodoma Law, P.C. of Charlotte, North Carolina. She holds bar admissions in North Carolina and South Carolina. A graduate of SUNY Buffalo Law School, Amanda handles all family law issues including divorce, separation, child custody, child support, alimony and more.