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Tips on Being a Good Co-Parent Around the Holidays

The stress of the holidays. The stress of being newly divorced and a co-parent. What will happen when they collide? It’ll be manageable, we promise. You may experience varying degrees of stress, but you will make it through with these tips from Ahluwalia Law. 

  1. Review your parenting plan. Your parenting plan may be fresh in your mind or relegated to the recesses of your brain. Regardless, the colder weather should prompt you to dust off the plan and reread the section that has to do with parenting time and how it is divided during the holidays. You may or may not have filled out FL-341(C), the Children’s Holiday Schedule Attachment, which exhaustively lays out who has the children on Thanksgiving, winter break, New Year’s, and other major holidays.

We understand that COVID has presented some difficult and extraordinary circumstances for parents across the country, but you (and your ex) need to adhere as closely to the parenting plan as possible. 

  1. Communicate proactively with your ex. Using effective and proactive communication is the best way for co-parents to have an enjoyable holiday season. Shooting your ex a quick email or text prior to the holidays reminding them of the plan may be enough for a smooth handoff. Calling or meeting in person, especially if that’s how you and your ex are accustomed to handle time sharing issues, could be even better. Discuss gifts, too, so there’s no chance of overlap or either of you trying to “one-up” the other. Most importantly, don’t leave important details until the last minute. 
  2. Let your kids know what’s going on. Regardless of their ages, your children will greatly appreciate your letting them know where they will be on which holidays. Children crave routines, which will naturally be upended (at least a little bit) as they go from house to house. Be honest with them—if you are embarking on the first holiday season as co-parents, let them know that you feel the same stress and uneasiness they may be feeling. Don’t pass up this opportunity to let them know how much you love them.
  3. Be flexible, choose your battles, and don’t forget about your kids. Did we mention that your children are your first priority during the holidays? This might require you to bite your tongue sometimes or save an argument for the next time you speak with your ex. Remember: it’s okay to let go of old traditions or begin new ones if that’s what’s better for everyone’s current arrangements. You won’t get everything you want during the holiday season, but neither will your ex. Be willing to roll with the punches (but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too). 

Conclusion

Planning ahead for the holiday season’s parenting plan is essential for co-parents, but flexibility is also crucial. This might seem counterintuitive, but finding the right balance means you and your kids will likely enjoy a pleasant holiday season. There’s no one approach for the holidays that works for every family unit, but the tips in this blog are tried and true. 

Ahluwalia Law proudly serves Bay Area clients who need help resolving their family law matters efficiently and with minimal stress. Our firm is currently offering free consultations; get in touch with us through our website to get started on yours.