Let’s face it: Any holiday can be stressful, but after a divorce where there are children to consider, the holidays can be especially tricky. Coordinating custody schedules. Splitting holidays. Transferring kids between houses. It’s a lot.
Sharing child custody isn’t always easy, but the good news is that these situations can work – and well – when both parents are cooperative, respectful, agree on the terms, and manage their emotions.
Because in spite of divorce’s inherent challenges, parents can help ease tensions, maintain their sanity and create happy memories for their children with a little forethought, planning and focus on what matters most – family.
So here are some ideas to help make the transition smooth, easy and yes, even happy this Memorial Day weekend:
1. If you have nothing nice to say …
Try to never speak poorly about your ex in front of your children. Even though you may still have anger or resentment, your children still love their other parent.
2. It’s not about you.
The divorce was about you and your ex, but your custody arrangement is about your children. Shared custody always works best when both parents are willing to set aside their ego and do what’s best for the children.
3. Determine how you best communicate.
For joint child custody to work, you need to find the method of communication that works best for you and your ex. Whether it’s through a shared calendar, phone call, text, or email, find a way to communicate with each other that’s quick and effective.
4. Pick your battles.
Often, parents make unrealistic custody requests or demands based on fear, insecurity or ego. Instead, think of custody as a business arrangement, removing your emotions and dealing only in facts.
5. And if all else fails, choose to focus on the importance of the holiday.
If it seems that you can’t make everyone happy, choose instead to focus on the reason for Memorial Day, shifting attention from custody to the custom of honoring the men and women who gave their lives for our country. If nothing else, it gives you a positive teaching moment that can help retrain everyone’s focus on what really matters.
Divorced families can enjoy holidays just as any other family would – and maybe with even less drama when everyone knows what to expect. Working together, both parents can help to carry on traditions and create new ones for many years to come.
But should you or someone you know need help navigating shared custody, call Christina Anton Garcia with Anton Castro Law for a family law attorney who is knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated to Representing Your Best Interests.