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Custody and Dealing Civilly with the Holidays

In most instances, those couples that are newly divorced or going through separation are having difficulties with parenting as well. Here are a few tips for dealing properly with one another without putting the child(ren) in the middle and avoiding unwanted “holiday drama:”

1) Have a plan. Discuss with each other well ahead of time what your particular expectations are for holiday custody. Consider when will you having guests or relatives at your house? When will you be visiting grandma and grandpa? They will want to see the children. Know where both of you will be and where you can meet to make exchanges. Having a plan well-ahead of a holiday avoids undesired stress and drama. Stick to the plan.

2) Communicate. A part from just having a plan, you need to continually communicate with one another. If someone is running late, let the other parent know. Even if it’s not an inconvenience, they will appreciate the courtesy and likely reciprocate. It establishes good will and a manner of future dealings.

3) Be courteous. Children, even younger ones, know when mom or dad is acting strangely. If you are angry, upset, or even yelling at the other parent, the child(ren) will notice. It will turn their holiday experience into one that they will carry forward with them for the rest of their lives. You don’t want them to hate the holidays when they’re 40 because mom or dad were always angry at one another. Even if you are upset, you keep your cool and smile for the sake of the child(ren).

4) Think. NEVER show up to a pick up or drop off for the child(ren) in a drunken state or under the influence of anything. It’s impossible to make good decisions that will have a lasting impact on your child(ren). This is your time with your child(ren), do you really want them to remember it a certain way?

If you have questions or concerns about your current custodial arrangement or need to get one, you may contact Shaffer & Engle to schedule a consult at (717) 545-3032. www.shafferengle.com.

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