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The holidays can be difficult for separated families. It may be impossible for children to celebrate the holidays with both parents. Splitting these special times for the children with your ex can be one of the most challenging steps in a separation or divorce.

At Gelman & Associates, we want to make sure you and your family have a merry and bright holiday. Here is our guidance for navigating parenting time over the holidays.

Create a Plan Together Ahead of Time

Successful co-parenting over the holidays is often a result of having a plan. This includes the division of time the children will have with each parent and logistics for transportation and drop-offs. As with any holiday, some plans will naturally fall through, run long, or alter altogether. So, it is best to be flexible. Be kind to yourself throughout and plan to give and take.

If you do not already have a parenting plan, talk about holiday parenting time with the other parent well in advance of the holidays, to understand if you can reach an agreement. It is recommended to leave enough time so that you can retain a family lawyer, if necessary. 

Involve Your Kids in the Planning

You most likely have a picture-perfect idea of how this downtime with your children will pan out. Your children probably do too. Involve them when making a parenting plan. Ask them what traditions they want to continue or what activities they would like to do over the holidays

Be transparent with children. Tell them your ideas and get their feedback. Let them know you recognize that this holiday may be a little different. Depending on their age, they may not totally comprehend the situation, but they will understand that you love them and want them to be happy.

Seek the Assistance of the Court

Whether it is on your own or with the assistance of family lawyers, it is always best for parents to agree on a holiday schedule. When parents cannot agree on this schedule, they can seek assistance from the court. They may also request for the court to alter the existing plan if it is no longer suitable for the children, for instance, if one parent moves or the children outgrow the schedule.

The court will consider the best interest of the children and not the influence of a parent or guardian’s personal opinions. Therefore, you must ensure that you can substantiate why your plan is in the best interests of the child.

Contact our Family Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Setting a holiday parenting schedule can be challenging—especially if it is the first time you are navigating the holiday season as a divorced or separated parent. Our team of seasoned and experienced family lawyers at Gelman & Associates can assist you in identifying your options and navigating a fair resolution to your holiday parenting plan. 

For professional guidance on how to keep your co-parenting amicable, contact us online or call us at (416) 736-0200 or toll-free at 1-844-736-0200 to schedule a free consultation.

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