Navigating co-parenting and child custody during the holidays

Co-parenting comes with challenges any time of year, but the holidays can be a particular struggle.Divorced parents in Alberta often contend with issues like child custody schedules, differing traditions and how much to spend on presents. They may also argue over Christmas, New Year’s and other celebrations. While there are no quick fixes to ease these holiday challenges, some advance planning can make it easier to navigate co-parenting during the season.

Most school-aged children have two or more weeks off over Christmas and New Year’s. Many divorced parents split time over this period, which can be rewarding for the child but add some complexities over schedules and hand-offs. Making a plan carefully in advance is advisable to avoid a Christmas morning dispute.

Using amiable language rather than making accusations can help to ease some of the difficult discussions about issues like the amount to spend on gifts. For example, instead of accusing one parent of spending too much, it can help to create a neutral space for discussion by suggesting that both parents share plans for Christmas to make sure everyone is on the same page. This may not always work if the relationship is particularly volatile, so considering these issues in a formal co-parenting plan, preferably worked out far in advance, can be wise.

Overall, a child’s enjoyment of the holidays will be significantly impacted by their parents’ behaviour and words. It is critical that parents do not trash talk one another or make their children take sides.Having sound legal advice and navigating child custody issues in advance with an Alberta lawyer can reduce frustration and help families plan a merry Christmas after a divorce.

Tags: Family Law

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