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Holiday season can be especially challenging for co-parents

As the days grow shorter and days cooler, the holidays are just around the corner. Often regarded as a joyous and celebratory time of year during which families gather to have fun, give thanks and be merry; for a divorced parent, the holiday season can pose many challenges. This is especially true for parents who share custody of a child and must therefore deal at times with carving the turkey and hanging the garland without a son or daughter being present.

Co-parenting is often difficult. During the holiday season, things are further complicated by strong emotions and memories of happier times. In cases where a parent must share custody of a child during the holidays, it's important to keep things in perspective and to never lose sight of what's really important—ensuring a child feels happy, secure and loved.

Before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season starts, it's wise for co-parents to make and solidify holiday plans and schedules. When attempting to coordinate the festive happenings of two or more households, communication is key and divorced or separated parents should do their best to be cooperative and, when possible, accommodating to one another.

Inevitably, there will likely be times when a co-parent's comments or actions prove to be irksome or hurtful. When faced with these types of situations, divorced parents are advised to pick their battles and do their best to avoid arguing in front of a shared child. Above all, co-parents must always keep in mind what's best for their child and while an ex's present may be over-the-top or a child returns home tired from being up late the previous night, it's best to address such concerns with co-parent in private or via email.

For parents who encounter difficulties when attempting to make holiday custody and visitation plans, it may be wise to consult with an attorney, mediator or therapist who can advocate on a child's behalf and work to resolve any custody and visitation disputes.

Source: Huffington Post, "Savvy Holidays Tips for Divorced Parents," Steve Mindel, Oct. 2, 2015

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