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Sharing the Children Over the Holidays, How to Co-Parent

The holidays can be a confusing time for children of divorce and a scheduling headache for parents, especially those who are new to divorce. Co-parenting can help those who are spending the holidays apart for the first time this year. A child custody order may set out the exact times that each parent is to have the children over the holidays, but the specific details may be hard to navigate this season.

Co-parenting is a very useful way to get around the holiday headache. Even parents who may not agree with the ordered plan or who may want to be selfish with the children during Thanksgiving and Christmas can benefit from a little co-parenting.

Mom and Dad can communicate weeks before the holiday to ensure a smooth transition and that each parent gets the time that was agreed upon at the custody hearing during their divorce. Parents can choose to stray from the order if they decide that it would be the best option for both, but even following the strict requirements would go better with a little communication. If parents can communicate effectively, they can learn to handle any last minute changes or emergencies that may disrupt a scheduled plan.

Mediators suggest that parents take the time to "step into the shoes" of the other parent when a disruption comes along. They may realize that if they were in a similar situation, they may hope for a little patience and flexibility too. Another suggestion is to refrain from having serious conversations when exchanging the kids, and mediators suggest using "I" messages to avoid the potential for the other spouse to feel like they are being accused or blamed for something.

Source: SiLive.com "Co-parents need to learn how to share" Elise G. McIntosh 11/23/10

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