One of the most difficult aspects of a custody negotiation is how the kids will spend their time over the holidays. No matter what holidays your family celebrates, it is really important to both parents to be able to spend time with their children. This issue is not generally one that gets better as time goes on. It’s a sticking point for many families for years and years. AMS Mediation understands how difficult it can be to navigate the holidays in the years after divorce. If it is your first holiday season after divorce or you are trying to adjust your custody agreement after many years of separation/divorce, we can help.
Strategies For Managing Custody Around The Holidays
Amber Serwat, founder of AMS, has been through a difficult divorce herself. She has learned to co-parent and find solutions for the most difficult problems in her own life. She brings this personal experience and professional skill to the table when she works with families who are trying to find a solution to a parenting plan for the holidays. Here are some tips for thinking about how best to manage custody and the holidays:
1. Think about what your child/children’s preferences might be: It is always wise to consider what is best for your kids when it comes to custody arrangements. This depends on age and personality, but if you can factor this into your parenting agreement, you will likely have more long-term success.
2. Consider different ways to split the holidays evenly: You have options when it comes to dividing the holiday time with your kids. If you live close to your ex, you can split the days in half, or at least offer a short visit to the parent who does not have the kids on that particular day. In some ways, this can be easier for families than having a schedule where the kids are with one parent for one set of holidays and the other parent for the rest.
3. Agree on schedule in advance of the holidays: Knowing ahead of time what the holidays will look like allows you the opportunity to make plans with your kids and when you are on your own. Knowing what to expect ahead of time is generally best for you and your children.
4. Consider mediation if you need to amend your holiday custody agreement: You might realize after you have been divorced for some time that your holiday arrangement needs to change. This is normal as kids age and personal situations change for the parents. Rather than going through the court system to approve the change, mediation allows you to amend your custody agreement much more quickly and easily.
5. Plan activities for yourself when you do not have your kids with you: Spending time alone without your kids is difficult anytime but is especially difficult over the holidays. So, practice self-care during this time and plan activities that can keep you busy when your kids are with your ex.
AMS Mediation is here to help you navigate custody around the holidays. Call us at 952-252-1492 with questions.