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Holiday Visitation Schedule: 6 Tips to Help the Process Go Smoothly

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude and spending time with family, but scheduling can get
overwhelming. This is true for everyone, but especially for separated or divorced parents who have
twice as much scheduling to manage. Feeling split between parents can be taxing on children too. As
you know, children observe their parents and pick up their behaviors. During the upcoming holiday
season, be sure to handle custody arrangements cheerfully. Here are a few tips to help the process
go smoothly.

  • Prioritize: Before you negotiate with your ex, make a list for yourself. Are there events that you
    absolutely must attend with your children? Know before you discuss holiday visitation what is
    really important to you, and be prepared to compromise. Deciding in advance what you need
    prevents discussions from devolving into a battle.
  • Check With Your Children: Depending on their ages and the specifics of the situation, your
    children may be able to give you valuable insight as to how to spend the holidays. Just like you,
    they have inner lives. Take some time to get a sense of what is important to them and what
    they want to do.
  • Open Your Mind: Divorce is destabilizing and can leave you feeling disappointed. Remember
    that the holidays aren’t just about you or your ex, they’re about everyone involved:
    grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other siblings. Keep an open mind about who all
    wants to see your children during the holidays, not just what you and your ex want.
  • Keep Communication Cool: Maybe you and your ex know how to push each other’s buttons. If
    possible, find a mode of communication that enables you each to keep cool, or at least appear
    to.
  • Children First: However you work out the details, one principle should prevail when planning
    the holidays. Put the children’s psychological well-being first.
  • Plan to Be Flexible: The goal is just to make arrangements that satisfy everyone to the extent
    possible, and that will not trigger disputes. You may not be together anymore, but you and your
    ex will always be your children’s parents. Make it easy on everyone by planning to be flexible.

That said, if the struggle to schedule becomes unmanageable, please contact one of the lawyers at
Merrill, Merrill, Matthews, & Allen to get help with visitation arrangements.

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