Custody is a difficult thing to figure out and manage. After you hammer out the arrangements during the divorce proceeding, it is time to actually try to put them into practice. One of the most stressful times for custody disputes is the holiday season.
Halloween is not far off, which means it might only be a matter of time until you and your ex start bickering about who will get to trick-or-treat and who the kids will open presents with on Christmas morning. Even if you have a comprehensive parenting plan, the logistics may not actually work out when the holidays come around. Here are some guidelines to make the holiday season less stressful for you and your kids:
Communicate - a lot
Check in with the other parent. Give your ex a heads up if you are thinking about traveling or throwing a party that does not mesh with the current schedule. The more you discuss the issues with your ex, the better things will be.
Remember that cooperation goes both ways. While you may not be in love with a changing holiday plan that is in the favor of your ex, you may need a similar favor down the road. Know when to be flexible and patient.
Respond and be honest
If your ex comes to you with an idea that deviates from the parenting plan, be responsive; do not stay silent if you object to something. Talk it out rather than holding your emotions in and letting it all explode when the holiday arrives. Hash it out sooner rather than later.
Plan how to give gifts
You may feel the temptation to double-up on gifts. While you may want to over-indulge your kids, you should try to split the wish list with your ex. This will help you avoid giving the same gifts or going overboard.