By: Amanda Vann, Esq.
Child Custody for the Holidays
Establishing a custody schedule and routine can be one of the most stressful and frustrating processes when going through a divorce and separation. If you don’t yet have a co-parenting or separation agreement in place, nor have you been to court and have a court order telling you what the custody schedule will be, you may find yourself in a state of limb, unsure of how to handle the holidays.
If you don’t have a court order or agreement in place, then you should start having discussions regarding a custody schedule for the holidays sooner than later. As the holidays approach, many of us find ourselves stressed out, and having to discuss a custody schedule may be the last thing you want to address. Our team of skilled family law attorneys has seen this situation before, and we can help you get through it with a few tips.
For assistance with matters regarding family law, contact the family law attorneys at Andalman & Flynn for assistance in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Address the Holiday Schedule Sooner Than Later
Whether you and your co-parent are living together or apart, the earlier you begin to have discussions about this topic, the easier it will be as the fast pace and stress of the holidays approach. Waiting until the week or day before a holiday to voice your opinion about wanting your children on a certain holiday is a sure way to create conflict. Instead, take the time now to open up the lines of communication to start reaching resolutions rather than creating more conflict.
Remember That It’s About Your Children
As hard as it is to hear, this isn’t just about what you or your co-parent want—it’s about finding ways to help your children have the best holiday possible. The holidays are traditionally a time for giving, so give thought to what will make your children the happiest. You may be going through a very difficult, spiteful, or nasty divorce, and although it will be difficult for you to put your feelings aside and make nice during the holidays, it doesn’t mean that it should be the same way for your children.
Remember that things will likely be different this holiday season, not just for you, but also for your children. The traditional trip to grandma’s house may not be possible this year to allow for both mom and dad to spend time with the children. Most children look forward to this time of year, so it is important to set new traditions that will give a sense of security to your children in knowing that they will have a wonderful holiday season.
Keep an Open Mind
When establishing a holiday custody schedule, you should go into it knowing that things are going to be different this year. Not bad, just different! Keep an open mind and come up with creative suggestions to ensure you children have ample time with both parents. Discuss travel plans now to avoid buying plane tickets that you may later have to cancel. Discuss what roles extended family will have, and be willing to discuss celebrating the holidays with your children on a different day. Just because Christmas falls on Sunday doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it with your children on Friday or Tuesday! If you run out of ideas on ways to split the holiday, seek the advice of your attorney. We have years of experience with these types of issues, and we can provide you with many different options that have worked for other families. Consider splitting the day or making a schedule that addresses the holidays in odd and even years.
Coming up with a holiday custody schedule doesn’t have to be stressful or upsetting. Celebrating with your children on the actual holiday isn’t what matters. What is more important is being able to celebrate and create memories with your children—and if that has to happen on a different day, that’s better than missing the holiday altogether!
Divorce, Custody & Family Law in Maryland
With offices in Silver Spring and Rockville, MD, Andalman & Flynn offers legal representation to divorce clients in Montgomery County as well as in Prince George’s and Howard counties. We know how complex and sensitive matters involving divorce and children can be, and we want to make sure your children’s best interests are well taken care of as they begin a new way of life.
We can assist you in resolving your divorce and resulting legal matters in court or through alternative means of resolution. Contact us today.