Janet L. Goehle, Attorney at Law
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Co-parenting and spending the holidays together

If you are separate or divorced, the last thing you may want to do is spend time with your ex. However, if you have a child together, you will always have to be in contact and communicate with one another.

As the holidays approach, you may be considering how to split your child's time between the two of you. Some parents decide to alternate holidays or split the hours of each day. One alternative that is least considered is for you, your ex, and your child to spend the holidays together.

Putting your child first

You and ex may not agree on everything, but one thing you should have in common is the needs of your child. After divorce, while you are still working through custody issues and who gets which weekend, one of the number one things that your child will need is for the two of you to communicate and comprise with each other.

Spending the holidays together will help instill a sense of unity in your co-parenting and reduce tension associated with passing your child back and forth during what is typically considered to be a stressful time of year.

Spending time together can also lead to healing the rift between you so that you can more effectively co-parent your child.

Strategies for making it work

In order to become more comfortable with spending time together, it is best to ease into it. Start by taking small outings together, such as lunch at the park, until you become more comfortable around each other without experiencing uncontrollable animosity. Be sure to have an activity planned, so that you aren't just sitting there.

You should also limit your conversation, avoiding topics such as child support, visitation, or any other issues of discontent between you. Remember that the time together is for the benefit of your child and has nothing to do with the circumstances of your separation.

After the holidays

If you are able to spend the holidays together, maintaining a schedule of joint activities after the holiday season is over will only help to provide more stability and a sense of family for your child. As you become more comfortable with the situation, you may find yourselves participating in more activities as a group and in such a way that it is an enjoyable experience for all of you.

If you are divorced or separated and have a child, it is important to understand your options when handling custody issues and to familiarize yourself with co-parenting strategies. This is where the advice of a local attorney experienced with family law may prove indispensable.

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