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Michigan Family Law Blog

Thursday, December 27, 2018

7 Strategies to Reduce Custody Stress This Holiday Season

“It is the most wonderful time of year . . .” However, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year. The holidays bring joy, laughter, and delight. Unfortunately, for many individuals, the holidays also bring a great deal of stress as they attempt to balance work, home, and family. When you add visitation issues to the mix, the holidays can become extremely stressful. Below are seven tips from an experienced Michigan visitation lawyer you might find useful to reduce custody stress this holiday season.

1. Don’t worry about the small stuff. Parents want the holidays to be perfect for their children. However, even when parents are living together, the holidays are not always perfect. It can help to think of various tasks as glass balls. The truly important things will shatter if you drop the ball. However, if the ball would bounce if dropped (i.e. wearing matching socks, never missing a holiday cartoon on television, forgetting to put reindeer food out on Christmas Eve, etc.) then let it bounce if necessary, to keep your sanity intact.

2. Be flexible and willing to compromise. The holidays do not need to be scheduled exactly as you desire for the holidays to be special. Parents who are not living together should work together to establish a holiday schedule that is in the best interest of their child. To accomplish this goal, you must be willing to be flexible and compromise. If both parents can compromise, they can greatly reduce custody stress during the holiday season.

3. Begin new traditions or modify old traditions. You may have several holiday traditions that you cannot keep going forward because you are no longer living in the same house with your ex-partner. Create some new traditions that you can enjoy with your child. For instance, if you always took your children to see holiday lights on Christmas Eve, change the date to earlier in December when you know you will have your child with you each year.

4. Include family members as you plan your holidays. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members want to see your children during the holidays too. Therefore, as soon as you have the holiday schedule completed with your child’s other parent, including family members in planning a portion of the holiday schedule so that your child ca spend time with other loved ones during the holiday.

5. Do not try to compete with gifts. 
Parents who compete with gift-giving are not doing their child any favors. Keep Santa’s gifts to the same level, regardless of which parent is in charge of that task each year. If possible, discuss gifts with your ex-partner to reduce custody stress this holiday season.

6. Spend the holiday together. Depending on your situation, spending the holiday together may reduce custody stress or it could increase custody stress. Some parents can put aside their differences for a few hours, while other parents cannot. Attempt to have an open and meaningful conversation with your ex-partner to determine if this option is worth attempting.

7. Begin your holiday plans early. You and your spouse should set a parenting time schedule for the holiday season as soon as possible, especially if your relationship is contentious. Knowing the schedule as early as possible can help reduce custody stress during the holiday season. If you cannot agree to a fair parenting time schedule, you might want to consider hiring a family mediator or family counselor to assist you.

Schedule a consult with Michigan visitation lawyer, Cameron C. Goulding today to discuss your co-parenting options this season. 

1. Don’t worry about the small stuff. Parents want the holidays to be perfect for their children. However, even when parents are living together, the holidays are not always perfect. It can help to think of various tasks as glass balls. The truly important things will shatter if you drop the ball. However, if the ball would bounce if dropped (i.e. wearing matching socks, never missing a holiday cartoon on television, forgetting to put reindeer food out on Christmas Eve, etc.) then let it bounce if necessary, to keep your sanity intact.

2. Be flexible and willing to compromise. The holidays do not need to be scheduled exactly as you desire for the holidays to be special. Parents who are not living together should work together to establish a holiday schedule that is in the best interest of their child. To accomplish this goal, you must be willing to be flexible and compromise. If both parents can compromise, they can greatly reduce custody stress during the holiday season.

3. Begin new traditions or modify old traditions. You may have several holiday traditions that you cannot keep going forward because you are no longer living in the same house with your ex-partner. Create some new traditions that you can enjoy with your child. For instance, if you always took your children to see holiday lights on Christmas Eve, change the date to earlier in December when you know you will have your child with you each year.

4. Include family members as you plan your holidays. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members want to see your children during the holidays too. Therefore, as soon as you have the holiday schedule completed with your child’s other parent, including family members in planning a portion of the holiday schedule so that your child can spend time with other loved ones during the holiday.

5. Do not try to compete with gifts. Parents who compete with gift-giving are not doing their child any favors. Keep Santa’s gifts to the same level, regardless of which parent is in charge of that task each year. If possible, discuss gifts with your ex-partner to reduce custody stress this holiday season.

6. Spend the holiday together. Depending on your situation, spending the holiday together may reduce custody stress or it could increase custody stress. Some parents can put aside their differences for a few hours, while other parents cannot. Attempt to have an open and meaningful conversation with your ex-partner to determine if this option is worth attempting.

7. Begin your holiday plans early. You and your spouse should set a parenting time schedule for the holiday season as soon as possible, especially if your relationship is contentious. Knowing the schedule as early as possible can help reduce custody stress during the holiday season. If you cannot agree to a fair parenting time schedule, you might want to consider hiring a family mediator or family counselor to assist you.

Schedule a consult with Michigan visitation lawyer, Cameron C. Goulding today to discuss your co-parenting options this season.

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