How to prevent custody problems during the holidays

When you got divorced, you likely sat your children down and discussed upcoming changes you would likely take place. Some things were going to change in major ways. Others would be similar to the way things have always been.

With Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season ahead, you may want to think about how to keep potential child custody problems from arising. Hopefully, you and your former spouse have an existing court order that spells it all out for everyone involved, such as who gets the kids for which holidays and so on. However, even a set plan does not guarantee problems won’t arise. The key to swift solutions involves knowing ahead of time where to turn for help.

Ideas that can help keep child custody stress levels to a minimum

The very fact that you won’t spend your holidays under one roof with both parents and the children is a bit stressful in itself. Thinking ahead to everything that can and may go wrong is likely enough to make your blood pressure soar. The following tips may help you avoid major child custody problems during the holidays:

  • If you didn’t include specific holidays in your initial court order, you may want to discuss the issue with your former spouse and seek the court’s approval to modify your agreement while you still have time. Make a list of holidays by name, and determine which ones are most important to you to spend with your children. Have your former spouse do the same. Once your list is complete, you can ask the court to incorporate it into your existing custody and visitation order.
  • Hanging a calendar with all holidays listed as to where your children will spend them is a creative and simple way to avoid disputes. Make sure everyone involved gets a copy and keeps it in a visible place. If a disagreement occurs, you need only refer to your calendars to resolve the issue.
  • If there’s a holiday you and your children’s other parent both want to share with the kids, you have several options. You can swap out hours of the day, with one parent sharing breakfast or lunch with the kids and the other having time with them the rest of the afternoon and evening. You may also decide to spend that particular holiday together as a group. If you get along fairly well, this might be a viable option.

Your children will no doubt appreciate any effort you make to keep things peaceful and amicable during the holiday season. If a holiday visitation problem does arise, you have every right to reach out for support if needed.

Don’t hesitate to seek help

Many Pennsylvania parents stay in close contact with their family law attorneys. This is often a means to swift and agreeable resolution to even the most trying child custody problems.


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