Now is the time to holiday-proof your child custody plan

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2023 | Child Custody

If you’re one of many Oklahoma parents who have recently filed for divorce, you and your children may be adapting to a new lifestyle, especially while navigating the first school year since you and your spouse parted ways. If you’ve been shopping lately, you may have noticed that stores already have holiday wares on display. You might think it’s too early to start thinking about the holidays. However, as a parent amid divorce, it’s never too early to make sure you have holiday-proofed your child custody agreement.

The more detailed and thorough your child custody agreement is, the less room for confusion and dispute there will be during the holidays. You can customize your agreement to meet your family’s unique needs and to fit your lifestyle. The key factor is to get as much as you can in writing. That way, if any disagreements or problems arise, you can turn to the contract to help resolve the matter.

Make sure you and your ex agree on what constitutes a holiday

You might like to celebrate National Daughters or National Sons Day, while your ex doesn’t consider it an official holiday. The fact is, you can designate any date as a holiday in your family, providing you both agree on how your children will celebrate the tradition. It’s best to create a calendar with all the holidays listed, as well as which parent will have custody on which days.

In some child custody agreements, parents agree to celebrate certain holidays together, so that their children can enjoy having both parents with them on special occasions. If you and your ex get along well, this idea might work for your family. If not, that’s fine. If you agree to certain terms and put them in writing, the choice of how to spend holidays following your divorce is up to you.

Make sure your child custody agreement includes terms about travel

The terms of your legal custody agreement may affect your ability to travel freely with your children after divorce. If you share legal custody with your ex, you must consult him or her before leaving the state or country with your kids. If you have sole legal custody, you do not need to seek your ex’s approval, unless the court has issued specific orders that state otherwise.

As for shared legal custody, it’s still helpful to discuss and agree to terms about holiday travel. Perhaps you will travel with your kids for Thanksgiving and your ex will take them on a trip over Christmas break or Kwanzaa or whatever special occasions your family celebrates. Again, the most important factor is to put all terms of the agreement in writing.

What if child custody problems arise during the holidays?

Nothing can spoil a holiday more for kids than exposure to parental conflict over child custody issues. If trouble arises, try your best to keep the issue private between you and your ex, rather than letting the kids hear you argue about them. If you can’t resolve the issue peacefully, you can reach out for added support by bringing the matter to the court’s attention, especially if it concerns terms of agreement your ex has disregarded. Divorce may change your children’s holidays, but it doesn’t have to ruin them.