Birmingham Family Law - Co-Parenting During the Holidays

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Sep 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

For many families in Birmingham (and throughout Alabama) holidays are a special time of the year that mean love, laughter, and time spent with one another. However, the perks of holidays do not make them any less stressful in today's fast-paced world. This is especially true when parents have made the difficult decision to pursue divorce and are facing holidays that have a new, unfamiliar dynamic to them. The following tips may help you successfully navigate the approaching holiday season in an effective, productive manner that benefits both you and your children.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is one of the single most important things to do when facing any potentially stressful co-parenting situations. By planning ahead, both parents have a chance to present their wishes and then come to a compromise or understanding that doesn't feel rushed or one-sided. Many effective parenting plans will create a schedule of where children will spend specific holidays, but if yours does not or if you do not yet have a parenting plan in place then you should begin planning your holiday custody arrangement as soon as possible. The sooner the arrangement is in place, the sooner each parent can begin making plans to make the holiday season as special as possible for the children.

Planning ahead is especially important if you are considering plans that could potentially disrupt the custody schedule in place. For instance, if you want to take your kids on a ski vacation but doing so will cut into two days of the children's holiday time with their other parent, don't just go buy the tickets and spring this as a surprise. Talk to the co-parent and see if there is an arrangement that can be worked out in advance to accommodate both of your wishes.

Consider Children's Input

Allowing your children to have a say in how they wish to spend their holiday time with each parent can make a lot of difference to a child. During divorce, children often feel helpless and many begin to internalize blame. If you have a chance to give some of that control back to the kids and show them that you value their input and wishes, you can certainly make the holidays less stressful for them and for you.

Create a Conflict-Free Environment

If your divorce was amicable and you get along splendidly with your former spouse, then you may decide to spend holidays together as a family. However, this often tends to not be the case. If you cannot spend an extended amount of time with your former spouse without arguing, noticeable tension, or other negative consequences, then psychologists have stated to WebMD that it is best to have separate holiday celebrations. According to that WebMD article, this can help prevent the children from experiencing additional stress from negative interactions between their parents.

Prepare Yourself

In some cases, especially those where parents have relocated to places where there is greater distance between them, it is important to prepare yourself that there may be some holidays in which you will not have the opportunity to spend as much time with your kids as you like. This can have severe consequences on you emotionally, mentally, and physically. In some cases, some parents may need to seek professional help to learn how to cope with a lack of interaction with their kids, especially during the holiday season. If you and a spouse are alternating holidays, make sure to plan something for yourself during the times of the holiday season that you will not have your kids. It is important that you anticipate your own emotional reactions to the holidays after divorce so that you are prepared to handle them, and to ensure that you are able to focus all of your time and energy on a wonderful experience with your children when they are able to be present.

Legal Assistance with Custody in Birmingham

If you are considering divorce or have already made the difficult decision to pursue divorce, it is important to consider the impact that will have on children. There are many aspects of divorce that may be overlooked by the parties involved, but an attorney that handles divorce on a regular basis can highlight them for you. As far as custody, co-parenting during the holidays is only one aspect that must be determined for a successful custody arrangement. An attorney can also walk you through these specific considerations, too. Contact Eversole Law to schedule a consultation about questions you may have related to divorce or custody.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama


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