In a lot of family law cases, coming up with Christmas/Holiday parenting arrangement is difficult and usually a contentious issue. Naturally, all parents want to have as much time with their child(ren) as they can possibly have. They want to spend the Christmas Eve with their children, wake up in the morning, and open gifts together, etc. Of course, cutting children in half is not an option, well at least not a viable one! But there are other ways that parents can work together towards a peaceful holiday season and holiday parenting time. Here are few things you can do to make the holidays as stress-free as possible.
Be Reasonable with your Parenting Arrangements
Always put yourself in your ex’s shoes. Treat your ex just the same way that you like to be treated. If your ex wants the children for a longer period during the holiday season for a valid reason, you do not need to disagree for the sake of being difficult. Unless this is your last Christmas with your child(ren), you probably have many more years to celebrate the holiday season with them. Remember, what goes around, comes around. If next year, you want the children for a longer time, your ex is much more likely to agree if you maintain a reasonable attitude.
Follow An Agreement for Parenting Arrangements
Try to have an agreement in place which sets out how you are to divide the Christmas parenting time. Some common parenting arrangements for Christmas are:
- Split the Christmas Break equally and rotate annually as to who gets Christmas eve/Christmas day
- Split Christmas day and Christmas eve and rotate annually who gets the child(ren) on Christmas day and who gets them on Christmas eve, same with New Years Day and New Years Eve
Schedule your time with your kid(s) around your parenting arrangement for the holiday and unless absolutely necessary do not try to change the plan. Remember, both you and your ex are relying on this plan and your ex may have already made arrangements based on the agreed upon plan.
Plan Your Parenting Arrangements Ahead of Time
If you do not have a parenting plan in place, discuss the holiday parenting time ahead of time with your ex to see if you can reach a resolution. Leave enough time so that you can get professionals involved (i.e. mediators, parenting coordinators, parenting counsellors, parenting coaches, or lawyers), if necessary. Remember, a lot of people take time off during Christmas and you want to be able have the professionals assist you with your holiday parenting arrangement, if you and your ex cannot agree.
Get Travel Authorizations
Get your travel authorizations in advance. You certainly do not want to be stuck at the border because you do not have the proper paper work in place. You can get a copy of the travel authorization from the Government of Canada’s website. Also keep in mind, sometimes it happens that you already have a parenting arrangement in place for the holiday season but you want to travel abroad with your kids(s) and your ex refuses to sign the necessary travel authorizations. You need to leave enough time to bring a court application, if necessary to get permission to travel outside Canada.
Make your Parenting Arrangements Conflict Fee for your Kid(s)
There is nothing better for your children than a conflict free Christmas. Make sure exchanges are peaceful. Speak positively of your ex so that your children know that you and your ex are on good terms, even though you are no longer together. Encourage your child(ren) to have a good time with your ex. Remember, you do not want your children to stress about the relationship between their parents, nor do you want them to feel guilty about having a good time with your ex! Your children and their well-being always come first.
If all fails, do not panic! We are here to help. Book your free consultations to see how we can help you with your holiday time parenting arrangement.