Father and two sonsWhether you are a custodial or non-custodial parent, dealing with where your children will be (and when) during the holidays can only make a stressful time more so. Here are some tips to minimize the impact of custody and visitation on everyone involved.

The Most Important Factor—Your Children

In your role as a parent, your primary responsibility is to your child. Whether you agree with your ex is simply not as important as whether your children get to spend safe and meaningful time with both parents. To the extent possible, you should settle any disagreements over visitation, gifts or anything else outside of the earshot or presence of your children. And regardless of how difficult you may perceive your ex to be, don’t ever take the opportunity to disparage your ex to or in front of your children.

Remember That It’s Not a Competition for the Love and Affection of Your Child

The best way to deal with gifts for your children is to talk with your ex and work out a plan. Don’t try to outdo your ex, giving your child lavish gifts in an attempt to “win” the Christmas present contest. Your kids are less interested in the stuff you give them than in the time you spend with them. Such a strategy will often backfire, anyway, as your children may feel greater compassion and sympathy for your ex because they couldn’t (or simply chose not to) spend a lot of money. The bottom line is that, by working with your ex and forming a plan whereby you both get to participate equally in the gift-giving, you’ll never put your children in the middle.

Be Willing to Accommodate Unusual Schedules

There are simply a lot more activities during the holidays. Your children may have holiday parties, events at school, special concerts, etc. Your ex may have commitments during what is normally visitation time. Your child may have a limited window within which to see cherished relatives. To the extent you can (and for your child’s benefit), be as flexible as you can.

Contact Our Office

To schedule a free, 30 minute telephone consultation to discuss your concerns, send us an e-mail or call our office at 201-343-0078. All calls and e-mails are returned within 24 hours. We’ll be at your side every step of the way.

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