The stockings are hung, the presents are wrapped, and the cookies are made — it’s time to wait for Santa Claus to arrive. As a divorced parent, though, that night of holiday bliss can be stressful for both you and your children.

As you’ve navigated through joint custody over the years, you’ve likely picked up a few tricks and tips for holiday custody. However, you may not have it all figured out and this year could be stressful. Likewise, if you’re a newly divorced parent of children, then joint custody can be difficult to manage during the holidays. Our family law firm in Tempe can help. The Law Office of Ronald Kossack serves clients throughout Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa, and, of course, Tempe. Whether you need help making a visitation schedule for the holidays or you’re interested in modifying a joint custody order that is no longer serving your family well, contact us today to meet with a family law expert who has been practicing law for more than 20 years.

Check Your Parenting Plan

Before you even meet up with your ex to discuss joint custody options for the holidays, you’ll first want to check your parenting plan. You may have already agreed to a specified holiday schedule for the family. Even if there’s nothing written down formally dictating what will happen for the holidays, check text messages or think back to in-person conversations when the two of you may have discussed plans. If you have had joint custody for several years, then it’s especially important to think back on past years and conversations.

Make A Plan & Communicate

It’s easy to want to be vague or otherwise unclear when discussing hard topics like joint custody and visitation schedules with your ex. However, it’s vital that you communicate your goals and wishes clearly and confidently. Even if it’s something as simple as having your kids with you on the day of your family holiday party — when it is normally your ex’s day — be completely transparent.

As far as the holiday itself, there are several different ways to make your visitation schedule work:

  • Alternate holidays – Each year, the two of you can alternate who has the kids for Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
  • Split it in half – Whether one person takes Christmas Eve and one person takes Christmas day or you split the day in half, find an agreement that makes everyone somewhat happy.
  • Double the fun! – If your ex gets the kids on the actual holiday, go ahead and have your own Thanksgiving or Christmas a few days before or after the actual date.
  • Fixed holidays – Each year you would have the same holidays with the kids. For example, you could have Christmas yearly — but they would have Thanksgiving yearly.

Coordinate Gift-Giving

This is vital for your children’s relationship with the two of you — and for your ability to get along well with your ex. You could each set a price limit on how much you’ll spend on each child. Another option would be to have the gifts work together. For example, if you give a tablet or other device to one child, the other parent could get accessories for it; if they were to gift a class membership like ballet, soccer, etc., then you could buy cleats and shorts for your little girl to go along with it.

Delay Telling Your Children

Any family law attorney will tell you that it’s important to not discuss potential plans for joint custody for the holidays with your children. At least, don’t do so until it’s official. Discussing it beforehand could lead to problems and animosity with your ex, along with confusion, distress, and sadness for your children.

Stick To The Plan

And, most of all, stick to the plan! Once there is a plan in place for the holiday joint custody schedule, it’s imperative that you honor and respect it as much as possible — just as you would wish for your ex to do. This isn’t just fair to your ex, though; it’s also fair to your children and helps them have the most stable, relaxed holiday season possible.

Visit The Law Office of Ronald Kossack Today

Do you need help developing a visitation schedule for the holidays? Are you interested in modifying your joint custody agreement for the New Year? Our family law firm can help. Ronald Kossack is a qualified, compassionate family law attorney who has represented more than 2,500 clients since 1993.

As a family law lawyer, he works with clients throughout Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, and Tempe — and he could help you with your family law problem or adjustment next. The holidays are supposed to be fun for the whole family; joint custody can make that more complicated, but not impossible. Contact our family law firm today for help.