Holiday season challenges of child custody and parenting time

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

With proper planning, divorced parents in New Jersey and across the country can make sure that the holiday season remains “the most wonderful time of the year,” just like the classic Andy Williams song from 1963. The first step would be to check the most recent child custody court order to be clear which parent is scheduled to have the children, and when. Changes can be made by agreement, but it’s best to plan ahead. Discussing holiday plans with the other parent is best done well in advance, and involving the children in the planning — at least to some extent — can help them to adjust to the new family dynamics.

Posting a calendar with notes to remind the kids of the arrangements is a good idea. For many families, the holidays are the only time when children can spend time with aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family members. However, working them into the plans may be impossible, which makes being flexible crucial. Fostering the bonds between the children and family members of both sides will typically be in the best interests of the children.

When one parent takes the children on a trip, providing the other parent with all the details is essential. This includes the destination, the address and telephone numbers along with the travel dates. Including as many details as possible during planning, and ongoing communication about any changes can avoid contention at this special time.

Even with the best plans, sight of some critical aspects might be lost, but help is available. An experienced New Jersey family law attorney can help to review the child custody court order and assist with drafting plans for the holidays. Legal counsel can help to cover all aspects to ensure smooth co-parenting throughout the holidays, while not losing sight of the best interests of the children.

FindLaw Network