4 Holiday Co-Parenting Tips

Child custody in Michigan can be a sore spot for many divorced people during the holidays. Whether you are divorced or co-parent, understanding the legalities of your custody agreement will be key to having a happy holiday season for your children and yourself.

Plan Ahead

With the holidays just ramping up, many parents are filled with anxiety over having to interact with their ex, or not spending enough time with their children. It is best to discuss the holidays in an honest and calm manner. It is also important to understand the visitation schedule in your child custody arrangement.

Many custody arrangements allow for one parent to have the child for an entire holiday, while the other will have the child on a different holiday. You may even alternate Christmas and Christmas Eve. Whatever the specifications of your arrangement, it is imperative to follow it.

Make the Children Your Priority

While shared custody can be difficult for parents, it can be even more stressful for children. Fighting and arguing can make the situation even worse for your kids. Parents naturally want to spend the holidays with their kids.

However, this is an important time to focus on the needs of your kids and not your own. Keep the best interests of your children in mind when you have to interact with the child’s other parent, and do not fall prey to arguments and insults. If you feel you must vent your frustrations, do so away from the children so as to keep the negative impact on them to a minimum. You do not want your children to grow up with holiday memories that involve yelling, screaming, and insults.

Win Through Compromising

Unfortunately, if you share custody of your children, spending every holiday with them is highly unlikely. You may want to discuss an arrangement that is as close to 50-50 as possible with your ex. While it might seem difficult, you need to put the children first. Should a child be deprived of contact with their other parent during the holidays?

Of course, there are situations that may necessitate a child not being around a parent (addiction, abuse, etc.). However, the majority of parents love their children and take care of them. Compromising will show your children a mature way to handle disputes, which will be invaluable to them as they grow older.

Your arrangement may alternate Christmases, or even alternate different holidays (Thanksgiving with one parent, Christmas with another). Whatever the arrangement, it is important that it is in the best interests of your children.

Practice Self-Care

On the holidays where you are not with your children, you will most likely feel sad. It is incredibly normal to miss your children and want to spend the holidays with them. However, it is equally important to remember that the best parent is a healthy parent. This means paying attention to your mental health.

You may want to make sure you have events scheduled to spend with family and friends. Spending time with those that you love will ease the burden of not having your children for the holidays.

Some divorced Michigan parents find it helpful to volunteer time at soup kitchens or Gleaner’s Food Bank. It is in giving back that many find peace of mind.

Child custody in Michigan isn’t always cut and dried. It is important to have a family law attorney on your side when dealing with the courts. Downriver family law experts at The Mitten Law Firm are here to help. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

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