Child custody problems during the holidays

If you could have perfectly timed your divorce, you may have scheduled it as far from a holiday season as possible. In reality, you may have been more focused on obtaining a fair and swift settlement rather than trying to schedule proceedings for the most convenient time. Navigating the holidays after a recent divorce may prove to be challenging in many ways, especially if your ex is causing trouble.

You don’t have to share every holiday with your co-parent

If the thought of sending your kids away to their other parent’s house is more than you can bear, there may be alternative options available. You and your spouse are able to devise a co-parenting agreement as you see fit, which means you could agree to alternate years or occasions so that each of you has a full day and night with your children when the time comes. For instance, if you spend Christmas Day with your children this year, your ex can spend it with them next year.

Avoid gift complications by keeping these tips in mind

It’s likely that both you and your ex will want to purchase gifts for your children during the holidays. You can prevent disputes by discussing everything ahead of time and putting your plans in writing. Will you share expenses or simply cover costs for your own purchases?

It’s also helpful to let each other know what gifts you plan to buy so that your kids don’t receive duplicate gifts on Christmas Day. If you and your ex get along well, you might agree to go in together on all gifts. In fact, you might both agree to be present when your kids open their gifts, so that they can have their whole family together under one roof on a holiday.

If your ex brings holiday cheer to a halt by disregarding a court order

Co-parent cooperation is the key to a less stressful post-divorce holiday season. Nothing can squelch holiday cheer like legal problems. If your ex is purposely disregarding a court order, such as not transferring custody at the agreed-upon place and time, you can bring the matter to the court’s immediate attention.

Holidays or no holidays, your ex must adhere to the terms of a child custody order. If one wishes to modify the order, he or she must file a petition in court to request a change, and no change may occur unless and until the court grants the request. Your first holiday season after divorce will be less stressful if you are aware of your rights and know how to protect your children’s best interests.