Kennedy Law Associates

Splitting parenting duties during the holidays after divorce

Many divorced parents in North Carolina honestly want to make the holidays a special time for their children. However, achieving this goal is sometimes difficult if there are lingering feelings involved. An increased frequency of carting kids from home to home also boosts the potential for conflicts or confrontations. One way to keep everything merry and bright is for parents to have a solid plan in place before the holiday hustle and bustle gets underway.

With newly divorced parents, there may be underlying issues with child custody arrangements or resentment over the results of decisions made by the court. Even if this isn't the case, parents are advised to keep the focus on their children by avoiding the temptation to let their feelings determine the nature of holiday situations. Doing so may involve turning to friends and family members for emotional support or seeking input from a therapist.

Developing a clear plan that everyone can get on board with often requires former spouses to make an equal effort to sort out details about which days children will be spending in each home, when and where exchanges will take place, and how days off from school during holiday break will be handled. Divorced parents are urged to honestly encourage their children to enjoy time spent with the other parent. This sometimes requires an effort by parents to avoid directly competing with one another, and it's best if kids aren't questioned about parental visits if an ex isn't prepared to listen in a nonjudgmental, supportive manner.

Parenting after a divorce often includes a reasonable visitation schedule if custody is shared. Should there be issues that arise during the holidays or any other time of the year, an attorney may be able to facilitate negotiations and resolve problems without going to court. A lawyer sometimes recommends an agreement modification if there are situations involving physical relocation of one parent or other life circumstances that could make visitation schedules impractical or impossible. A child custody arrangement might also be changed if there are repeated violations by one or both parents.

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