When the weather starts getting—and staying—cooler, so do warm feelings of the approaching holiday season. The 2020 holiday season will be different in many ways due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the differences could be compounded for co-parents who recently went through a divorce. Now, the constant shuffling of kids from households seems like all you’re going to be doing.
The holiday season doesn’t have to make you miserable or be an ordeal. Through smart planning, communication, and flexibility, you will get through the holidays and probably enjoy yourself more than you thought possible.
Look Back to Your Parenting Plan
Co-parents are required to consider holiday time-sharing schedules when they create the comprehensive parenting plan. Take another glance at the section of your parenting plan that deals with the holidays, if only to refresh your memory. In Florida, you may choose one of three options:
- The holiday time-sharing schedule does not deviate from the regular time-sharing schedule.
- Co-parents agree to time sharing as appropriate each year.
- A detailed time-sharing schedule, down to the hour and minute, is developed so there is no ambiguity.
Whatever Your Arrangement, Be Flexible
You know what they say about the best-laid plans (they often go awry). When the unexpected happens, do your best to go with the flow and be flexible. We don’t suggest never putting your foot down when your ex pushes the envelope or tries to be withholding, but your first instinct should be to remember that the holidays are about spending time with family. Sometimes, you have to choose your battles (or, at the very least, save those battles for later). Your kids benefit from seeing both parents.
This isn’t to say that disagreements are inevitable during the holidays. The best way for you to head off conflicts with your ex is to communicate proactively with intention. Your overall parenting plan is only as effective as the communication between you and your ex.
When Your Parenting Plan is Explicit
Let’s say your parenting plan calls for you to have your child the first half of winter break. By mid-December, your child’s school could be experiencing a mini COVID outbreak and extend winter break by a week or two to allow positive cases to subside. If this situation or a similar one arises, at least make a good faith effort to let your ex know that you think you should have your child for a little longer than would be customary.
Another issue that could crop up in 2020 is due to Christmas being on a Friday. If your ex has your child for the Christmas weekend, at what time does the weekend start? Will it start on Saturday, Friday evening, or Friday morning? What if you usually have your children on Christmas Day after your ex spends time with them on Christmas Eve? These seemingly small matters can mushroom into arguments if you or your ex is ambiguous about holiday time sharing.
We understand if you are dreading your first holiday season as a co-parent, but we strongly believe that following the advice we shared in this blog will go a long way toward truly enjoying the “most wonderful time of the year.” As long as you are flexible, communicative, and creative (when needed), we’re confident that things will go smoothly.
If you are filling out a parenting plan, going through a divorce, or trying to navigate any family law matter, we would be honored to be your counsel. Titan Law recognizes the delicate nature of these legal matters and pledges to resolve your disputes efficiently and with minimal stress. Please get in touch with us here (you may fill out an online form) to speak with a member of our team.