Sharing custody of your children can be especially difficult around the holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are some of the most family-oriented holidays as people travel from far and wide to spend the season with the ones they love. How does shared custody work during the holidays? Keep reading to find out.
Maryland Parenting Plans
Parenting plans are available for Maryland parents. For a parenting plan to work, both parties must reach an agreement on how and where they intend to spend time with their children. When drafting a parenting plan, it’s important to remember that the goal is to provide a safe and emotionally supportive environment for the child.
The following considerations are essential when creating a plan:
- The foreseeable health of the child
- Finances and employment
- The location of your homes in relation to the school and any extracurricular activities
- The existing relationships with friends and loved ones
- The ages of the children
- Day-to-day needs
- Your ability to collaborate and work with your ex-spouse
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it serves as a launch point for your parenting plan.
Remember: Every family is different, and there is no right or wrong way to co-parent. Be honest and receptive to a discussion about your needs and listening to the needs of your former spouse, and most importantly, be kind to yourself. This is a tough situation for any parent, and it’s normal to feel upset or frustrated at times.
Holiday Visitation: Do’s and Don’ts
One of the best tools in your parenting arsenal is your parenting plan. You’ve already put in the work to create a considerate and collaborative strategy for co-parenting during the year – holiday visitation is just a small extension of that plan.
That said, DO use your parenting plan as a guide. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel – discuss your preferences and go back to the parenting plan if you find it difficult to reach an agreement. Think of it this way, “What would we do if this were just another day?”
Once you refocus on the big picture, DO check the school calendar for specific vacation dates and breaks. This can help you narrow down the time frame for visitation and plan for travel.
DON’T forget to consider travel time and cost when planning for the holidays. Planning in advance can give you the time you need to reach an agreement and make arrangements without feeling rushed.
It’s also important to keep in mind that while you may want to spend every special day with your child, it’s not always possible. DON’T be afraid to have a second Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or birthday celebration. This gives you a chance to celebrate the holiday (even if it’s not on the exact day) and create fun memories with your child.
Advice for Co-Parents During the Holidays
Holidays are hard on many families, perhaps due to the loss of a loved one, financial troubles, or separation. You are probably feeling discouraged and disappointed with how your child will be spending the holidays, but these feelings are normal.
It’s only natural to want to spend time with your child, and it can be devastating to feel like you’re missing out on important landmarks. That’s why it’s so important to create a holiday visitation schedule that is satisfactory for you and your ex-spouse.
Continuous conflict during this time of year can ruin happy memories and experiences. Instead, focus on giving your child a holiday to remember regardless of the calendar date.