The holiday season is coming up soon, and often means extra stress for Pennsylvania parents who are sharing custody of their children. Hopefully, you have a custody order in place through a court that includes a holiday schedule, but even that does not completely prevent disputes.
If you do not have a custody order in place through a court, it might be best to start the custody process. Without one, you and your co-parent have no schedule to fall back on if you can’t agree on something.
This not only causes anger and resentment, but probably isn’t going to result in happy holiday memories for your children.
You can agree to change your holiday schedule
One thing that you may overlook is that even custody orders with a set holiday schedule do not have to be followed if both you and your co-parent agree to modify it.
Maybe your custody order has you alternating years for Christmas, and this is your year, but your co-parent has special family members coming to visit and would really like the children to see them.
Be flexible. Pick another day to do your holiday celebration or come to some other type of arrangement. Your children likely won’t remember what day it was, but they will remember the experience they had.
If you can figure out a way to modify your schedule so he can have Christmas, you are not required to follow your court order. However, make sure to get any agreement in writing to prevent anyone from claiming in the future that they did not agree to it.
Recognize that circumstances can change
No matter what, prepare for the unexpected. Winter means potential transportation problems and an increased risk of getting sick.
Remember that these are unanticipated things that no one plans for. Always have backup plans in place in case someone is delayed or gets sick.
Overall, having patience, flexibility and the ability to compromise can help you navigate the custody challenges the holiday season brings.