By Mary Ellen Flynn, Esq.
There is a lot of hustle and bustle during the holiday season. Here are some tips to make co-parenting successful during the holiday season.
Chances are you already have a pre-determined custody schedule that addresses where your children will be and at what times, but if you need to change that schedule, pre-plan and start the discussion early. Doing so can avoid last-minute requests that will indeed be denied, and hurt or angry feelings emerge.
2. Be Flexible.
Although we try and schedule things in advance, there are some things we can’t predict. Remaining flexible for those surprise changes that need to be made will make for a more enjoyable holiday season. If your child comes down sick with the flu, work with each other to ensure that your child still gets time with both families.
3. Manage Your Extended Family’s Expectations.
When you are co-parenting, it is difficult enough to accommodate both parents and your children’s schedules, let alone take into consideration grandparents, aunts, uncles, and all the cousins. It may not be what you want to hear, but you must manage your family’s expectations of the time you spend with your children. Both sets of families will want to see your children. Therefore your entire family may have to make some changes to the date and times of your holiday traditions to ensure your children can attend. As soon as you know your visitation schedule, communicate that to your extended family so that your children are included in the festivities.
4. Take Time to Have One-on-One Time With Your Kids.
Whether this is your first holiday together after a divorce or you’re tenth, make sure that you carve out some time to spend one on one time with your kids. Establish a new tradition that has quality one-on-one time. Have a gingerbread house competition, bake your favorite holiday treats, or go to a festival of lights together and make it time for you to enjoy being together as a family. Having time away from all of the hustle and bustle to spend time laughing and enjoying each other’s company will help build your relationship and ensure your and your children’s mental health is in a positive state.
5. Establish New Traditions.
As your children grow older, how you celebrate the season will change, and you should find new ways to continue making family traditions. Perhaps your children no longer wake up at dawn on Christmas morning but establish new practices that continue to bring excitement and joy to the holiday. This can also mean taking a big step forward and inviting your ex over to enjoy the holidays together. Celebrating together isn’t always possible, but if it is, I encourage you to put differences aside and create a positive co-parenting relationship that allows you to enjoy your children together during the holiday.
Consult an Experienced Maryland Family Law Firm
If you require assistance from a family law lawyer in Maryland, Andalman & Flynn family law attorneys can provide the reliable, compassionate legal representation you need.
Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The Firm practices family law, estate planning, and probate throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia, and represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country. The Firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The Firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and their attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at andalmanflynn.com or call 301.563.6685.