Going through the holidays after separating from your spouse often raises stress levels. With COVID-19, separated parents may worry about the safety of their children while under the other parent’s care. Communication and flexibility can make the holidays easier for you and happier for your child. Here are some tips that might make things easier.
- Prepare to Alternate Holidays
Things go more smoothly when both parents show a willingness to bend and remain flexible. If it’s your first holiday away from your child, it may be difficult to realize you won’t be able to be with your child on every holiday as you did before the divorce. Remember, you can celebrate Thanksgiving any day. If it’s not your turn to have your child, pick another day to celebrate together. You can still make a big meal and invite friends and family over (when COVID-19 is over). This will be more enjoyable than going to court just to have the judge tell you these holidays will be alternated. Many parents spend a lot of energy bickering over holiday schedules. If you can be gracious about it, that serves all parties well.
- Address Holiday Schedules in Your Legal Separation Agreement
By addressing holidays in your legal separation agreement, you can prepare yourself well ahead of time and make your plans accordingly. This agreement helps you to prepare for the time with and without your children. Make plans during the times when they are with the other spouse to start a new tradition or connect with family and friends. Planning now will make the time without the children go by more easily.
- COVID-19 Complicates Shared Custody
Unfortunately, even with many parts of the country partially closed, holiday schedules remain in force. Even married parents may disagree on household rules for COVID-19. When you split the household, you may feel like you’re losing control over your child’s health and safety. Have a frank discussion to set guidelines and provide a consistent message to your child.
COVID-19 topics to discuss include:
- Do you require your child to wear a mask and social distance?
- Will holiday travel take your child to an area of the country where coronavirus cases are on the rise?
- What about participating in family get-togethers of more than 10 people?
You won’t agree with all the answers. However, together you can set basic ground rules to protect your child. At the end of the day, you have to accept that you can’t protect your child when they are not with you. You have to trust your spouse to do the right thing.
If you feel that your spouse is exposing your child to unnecessary risks, talk about it with your co-parent before seeing your lawyer. Unfortunately, courts cannot deal effectively with violations of COVID-19 mandates. Once you go down the road of court-appointed rules, communication typically breaks down. That’s not healthy for you or your child and will cause more problems for your divorce.
When you are ready to file for divorce, you will need legal representation. We concentrate in traditional and collaborative divorce. Contact The Law Offices of Patrick Markey, P.C. for all your family law needs.