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Is your custody plan holiday proof?

The good news is that the significant decline in travel in Minnesota and throughout the United States in recent years appears to be waning. All summer long, families booked flights and visited their favorite beaches and tourist attractions, which means that the upcoming 2022 holiday season will likely feature an uptick in travel, as well. If you are just coming away from divorce proceedings with a child custody order in place but zero experience in co-parenting from separate households, there are several things to keep in mind to avoid problems.

The most important thing to remember regarding child custody after a divorce is that you and your ex are both obligated to adhere to the agreed-upon, court-approved terms. Even if you want to change your agreement, you can’t, unless you petition the court for modification of the existing order.

The more child custody details you set in writing, the better

You might think that there isn’t a pressing need to map out a holiday plan as you and your ex adjust to co-parenting after divorce. Many parents have learned the hard way that it’s best to agree to everything in writing, from where your children will spend Thanksgiving or Christmas or Hannukah, etc., to who will buy which gifts and who will pay for them.

When you have a clear plan in writing, there is little room for confusion or dispute. If a problem arises or someone needs to rearrange the schedule, as long as it doesn’t disregard the court order, you can discuss the issue amicably and decide on a solution.

Identify exactly which days are holidays

Another issue to discuss with your co-parent is which days of the year you both consider holidays. In addition to the obvious ones, such as those mentioned in the previous section, you might consider birthdays, anniversaries or even the date you first brought your pet home a holiday tradition in your family.

As long as everyone who is involved is aware of which days you will celebrate as holidays, you can then execute terms of agreement.

Find ways to stay connected to your children when you are apart on a holiday

It can be emotionally challenging for you and your kids to adapt to a new way of sharing holidays after your divorce. If you are apart on a holiday that you are used to spending together, you might want to have a plan in mind on how to stay connected with them and share the festive mood.

For instance, you can use virtual chat software so that you can see your kids face-to-face, even if it’s not in person. You might tuck a note in their backpack for them to find when they are at their other parent’s house. The important thing is to let your children know that you love them and are thinking of them, even when you are apart.

Work as a team for the sake of your kids

If your children witness you and your ex doing your best to compromise and cooperate for their sake, they will no doubt enjoy their holidays this year and will also gain the coping skills they need to come to terms with your divorce.

If a legal issue arises, it is best to try to resolve it right away so that it doesn’t ruin your holiday season. If you don’t feel able to handle the issue on your own, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for support, even if that means asking the court to intervene.