Going through your first holiday season as a divorced parent can be challenging for a variety of reasons. But, there are steps you can take to make sure things go as smoothly as possible, and there are resources available if you need help. Here are seven tips for navigating the holidays as a divorced parent from our New Jersey family law attorneys.
1. Make Sure You Know the Terms of Your Custody Agreement
First and foremost, make sure you know the terms of your custody agreement. For example, does it include specific directions for holiday custody and visitation? Are there restrictions regarding travel? Knowing your rights and obligations will help you avoid unnecessary issues.
2. Stick to the Terms of Your Custody Agreement
Do not stray from the terms of your custody agreement in any way. If you violate the terms of your custody agreement, not only is this likely to lead to disputes with your former spouse during the holiday season, but it could potentially lead to legal issues as well.
3. Don’t Let Your Holiday Preparations Get in the Way of Communicating
It is easy to get overwhelmed during the holiday season. But, while you may be busy shopping, preparing meals and wrapping gifts, you need to make sure your holiday preparations don’t get in the way of communicating with your former spouse. Communication breakdowns are among the most common causes of custody-related disputes, and it only takes a few seconds to send or provide a quick response.
4. If You are Providing Transportation, Be Sure to Be There on Time
If you are responsible for driving your children to your former spouse’s home for the holidays, be sure to be there on time. Not only will this help avoid unnecessary confrontations with your former spouse, but it is also what is best for your children.
5. Prioritize Your Children’s Emotional Needs
Speaking of your children, it will be important for you to prioritize their emotional needs. Going through your first post-divorce holiday season may be difficult for you, but it will likely be even more difficult for your children. Pay attention to their emotional cues, encourage them to talk to you about their feelings, and avoid saying anything negative about your former spouse.
6. Seek Help if You Need It
Whether you need to speak with a professional or need advice from a New Jersey family law attorney, seek help if you need it. There is no shame in seeking help during a difficult time, and getting the help you need will make the holidays much more enjoyable.
7. Be Proactive About Resolving Any Issues that Arise
Regardless of the specifics involved, if you face any custody-related issues during the holiday season, taking a proactive approach will allow you to get them resolved as quickly as possible. With legal issues, in particular, there are often (though not always) logical solutions available, and seeking help right away will give you the best chance to achieve a quick and easy resolution.
Speak with a New Jersey Family Law Attorney in Confidence
If you have questions about dealing with any custody-related issues during the holiday season, we encourage you to reach out for assistance. To speak with a New Jersey family law attorney in confidence, call 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can contact you online today.