The Christmas holidays are supposed to be a time for fun and cheer.  However, for separated families they can also be a cause of tremendous stress and anxiety.

This is especially true for high conflict separations where parents can’t agree on holiday parenting time, gifts for the children, or family vacations.

Communication is key.  When parents are mature enough to put their differences aside and communicate for the sake of their children’s happiness, last minute surprises, including arguments and disputes, can be avoided.  Parents need to acknowledge that traditions previously enjoyed as a family won’t quite be the same as they were before.  Concessions will need to be made by both parents to ensure that the children are put first during the holiday season.

Any holiday parenting plan should include information on how much time the children will spend with each parent.  This also requires consideration into the logistics of transportation and pick up and drop off locations.  An easy way to ensure an equitable sharing of time is to have the holiday parenting time switch on an annual basis.  Neither parent should assume priority over Christmas Eve, Christmas day and Boxing Day every year.

Holiday parenting plans should be simple.  If parents attempt to cram every activity or tradition into their own time with the children, the children may be left exhausted and overwhelmed.  It is important to make sure that the children have down time during their time with each respective parent as well.

Christmas shouldn’t be a competition.  This includes the buying of expensive and/or extravagant gifts in an attempt to “buy” the children’s love and affection.  Communication between the households will assist in checking off the wish list together so the children experience continued happiness when opening gifts with each parent.

It is important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to navigate co-parenting.  There is always a way to find a fair compromise, especially during Christmas.

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This WARDS LAWYERS PC publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Specific or more information may be necessary before advice could be provided for your particular circumstances.

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