Articles Tagged with coparenting

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holiday visitation scheduleCreating a holiday visitation schedule. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of any divorce revolves around custody and visitation issues, and those become exponentially more poignant during the holidays. Creating a holiday visitation schedule for visitation that extends for a lengthy period of time, yet maintains a certain level of flexibility, can help everyone enjoy the holidays with a minimum of stress.

Holiday Visitation Schedule – Days to be Considered

In addition to the obvious holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day and Easter, parents should keep in mind the numerous school breaks, such as President’s Day, Spring Break, and Memorial Day. Also important are Father’s and Mother’s Day, and each parent’s and step-parent’s birthdays. Clearly, the children’s birthdays should also be considered.

Typical Holiday Visitation Schedule Scenarios

California courts offer documents to help families take a long-term look at holidays and school vacations as they attempt to share the kids. One form lists common holidays that couples should consider as they determine their holiday visitation schedule, and allows parents to consider schedules for one particular year, or even for alternate years. Depending on location, work schedules, and circumstances, couples may contemplate a number of ways to deal with holiday visitation schedules:

  • Some couples divide important days by the hour. This way each parent gets to celebrate milestones with the children: One parent may enjoy breakfast and presents in the morning on Christmas Day, while the other has a family dinner that evening.
  • For parents who live significant distances away from one another, it sometimes makes more sense to split the holidays. One may get the kids for Thanksgiving, while the other has a significant chunk of time over the Christmas holidays.  
  • Many couples alternate where the children spend special days by odd and even years.  2018 may be Dad’s year for Christmas, but Mom gets the kids for the holiday in 2019.

Of course, most couples find that these and other scheduling strategies have to be adjusted and combined over time. That is because circumstances may change for one or both parties, the holiday schedule may interfere with regular visitation schedules, or children may become sick, interrupting a scheduled visit.

When the Holiday Visitation Schedule Conflicts with the Regular Schedule

It can be frustrating to be the parent whose visitation time is impacted negatively by a holiday visitation schedule, but parents need to understand that the holiday visitation schedule trumps any regular schedules, period. If kids spend time with parents on alternate weekends, in some cases, it could lead to more time than usual with a particular parent. For example, let us say December’s weekend schedule is Mom, Dad, Mom, Dad. In a particular year, Dad’s Christmas visitation occurs during Mom’s weekend three. So Mom loses that third weekend with the kids. And yes, Dad gets to keep the kids on his normal weekends, too, so he gets them three weeks in a row. Continue reading →

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former spouseSay you’ve  split up, and really want to stick it to your former spouse. Here are some sure fire ways to throw a wrench into your former spouse’s life, and make your kids suffer at the same time:

  • Argue with your former spouse. Loudly. In front of the kids. Make it extra nasty by throwing in a few eye-rolls and dirty names. Kids need to know just how despicable their other parent is.
  • Talk badly about your former spouse around the kids. Make sure it is clear whose fault the split was, and clearly lay out every shortcoming he or she has on a regular basis.
  • Plan fun activities while your kids are supposed to be with their other parent so they will be reluctant to go with him or her. That will really prove who the better parent is.
  • Turn holidays and special events into a competition. Make sure you get the bigger, better presents every time. Then the kids will know who loves them the most.
  • Speaking of special occasions, stick to the visitation order without flexibility. Who cares if the kids have to miss something special with the other parent? They like you best anyway.
  • Make sure the other parent knows as little as possible about junior’s schedule. Having your ex show up to ball games, music programs, or parent teacher conferences would be a drag for everyone.
  • Discourage contact through email, text, and phone on any kind of a regular basis. You do not want your ex getting into your kids’ heads!
  • Eliminate any contact with the family of your ex. They have no legal rights to the kids, so do not complicate your lives with communications with them.
  • Make sure the kids know just how much of a struggle it can be since their other parent left. Your ex really made all of your lives more difficult, and the kids have a right to know what a selfish person he or she is.
  • When the kids do go for visits, have them spy on the other parent for you. What a great way to find out what he or she is up to nowadays!

Seriously, Folks, the Divorce is Between you and your Former Spouse

Hopefully you realize that your divorce is between you and your former spouse. Kids are kids, and deserve protection from as much of the cruddy parts of life as possible. Instead of making them pawns in your divorce and throughout the rest of their lives, try putting them first:

  • Keep disagreements between you and their other parent private;
  • Keep negative feelings about their other parent, his or her new partner, etc. to yourself;
  • Make visitation seamless and easy;
  • Discuss important matters, from health to upcoming events, with the kids’ other parent;
  • Include all grandparents in the kids’ lives if possible;
  • Let the kids enjoy their other parent without worrying about you.

These simple tips really can help your kids get through a potentially traumatic event in their lives with strong, positive relationships and a healthy future. You love your kids. Now, more than ever, is the time to show it by swallowing the urge to create dissonance between them and their other parent. Continue reading →

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