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5 Ways to Make Christmas Visitation Work

5 Ways to Make Christmas Visitation Work

Avoiding Christmas Visitation IssuesNo matter how the holidays are divided, it is unlikely that everyone is going to be totally happy. Ideally, everyone wants to wake up and see the kids’ faces as they discover what Santa brought, right? Focusing on the children instead of yourself when setting holiday parenting time is the right mindset to make the time enjoyable for your children and to reduce the stress of the holiday season.  It is important to make parenting time arrangements well in advance of the holidays, and to communicate timely details with the other parent, leaving sufficient time to work out disputes or get into court if an agreement cannot be reached.  Waiting till the last minute to make arrangements and plan for the holidays with the other parent is likely to cause conflict.
I’ve seen some families where the mother gets Christmas Eve every year because of her tradition.  I’ve seen some arrangements where the exchange of children is on December 26thbecause neither parent wants to be travelling on Christmas Day.  I’ve seen cases where the Father gets the children for Hanukkah and the Mother gets the children for Christmas because of their different religions.  I’ve even seen cases where the Father chose to get the kids on December 26thevery year because his family always goes skiing with his side of the family.  The goal is to come up with a holiday schedule that works for YOUR family!

1.  Plan Ahead—schedule holiday gatherings well in advance.  Keep the kids in the loop; let them know what’s going to go on with Mom and Dad during their parenting time.  Encourage the children to go with the other parent and to have a great time. Remember there are no judges available during the holidays and your attorney is likely to be with his family too.

2.  Do Not Just Show Up—work out ALL holiday visitation beforehand.  You can change the parenting time if there is mutual agreement.  Put it in writing via email or text message to prevent later disagreement.

3.  Do Not Argue In Front of Children—pick up and drop off can be a source of friction; however, do not engage the other parent, argue, fight, name-call, etc.  Do NOT ruin your children’s Christmas!

4.  Do Not Upset Your Children—encourage your children to spend time with the other parent during the holidays.  Do NOT make the child feel guilty because you are “going to be alone on Christmas morning.”

5.  Do Not Badmouth Other Parent—a sure-fire way to aleniate your children is to talk badly about the other parent.  Your children love both of you and do NOT want you to put them in the middle.  Also, allowing the children to speak poorly about the other parent shoud never be allowed.

With the right frame of mind, both you and your children will enjoy the holidays and look forward to celebrating them again next year.  You should support your children during a difficult time, allowing them to call the other parent to ease any tensions.  Remember, the holidays are about the children, NOT YOU! Behave accordingly and your children will thrive.  Focusing on your children and remaining positive during the holidays will create new memories that your children will cherish for decades.  Have any questions? Give us a call.

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