The holidays are coming, and parents who share custody need to know how they’re going to approach this festive family season. Do you know what your plan is or what the court order allows? Have you already talked to your ex to see what they would like to do? Communication is very important. You need to work together to put the kids first, no matter what that means.
So, what options do you have? Here are a few potential ones to consider:
1. Spend the holidays together
This only really works if you and your ex are on good terms. If so, though, the easiest solution is often just to spend the time together. You both get to see your kids all day long. They get to see both parents. It’s a great solution for everyone — if it works. It admittedly will not for many couples.
2. Split the holiday down the middle
Another solution that means you both see your kids on the holiday is to divide the day in the middle. One parent takes the morning and the other takes the afternoon. As simple and obvious as this first appears, it does raise some questions. Is it really best for the kids if they have to deal with the stress of travel on the holiday? If the holiday in question is Christmas, is getting that morning time with the kids considered “better” than the afternoon?
3. Have your own holiday
Say that your custody agreement means your ex gets the kids over the holidays. You feel like you’re missing out entirely. One solution is to set up your own holiday celebration. Just do it the weekend before or after the actual day. While it may not be quite as exciting, you still do get to create those special holiday memories.
4. Include yourself in other ways
Just because you cannot physically be with your kids all day does not mean you can’t stay involved. You could send a card or presents for them to open. You could set aside time to talk to them on FaceTime. You could write holiday letters for them to read. You could even drop in for a short visit if your ex approves. There are ways to connect with the children. Talk to your ex and your kids about what they want and what works the best for everyone involved.
Of course, a big part of this overall process is simply determining what rights you have under your custody arrangement. Make sure you know where you stand and what options you have in North Carolina.