3 Tips to Avoid Child Custody Problems Over the Holidays

With the winter holidays just about in full swing, parenting time disputes are bound to happen. Between professional commitments, social commitments, family time, children’s concerts, school parties, etc., it is a hectic time of the year. Add on sharing responsibilities and time with the children, and chaos can overcome divorcing or separating couples when they are not careful, courteous, and conscientious. Read on and learn how you can make the most out of these three Cs and avoid custody problems during a divorce or separation this holiday season and beyond.

Be Careful

Take care of your schedule. Schedule out the holiday time with your children as far in advance as possible. Take care of the minor schedule adjustments that may happen due to other commitments. The school holiday musical only happens on a certain date and time. The holiday office party happens once. Grandparents will only be in town for a set amount of time. Work around these schedule adjustments and don’t be too rigid about swapping dates and times as long as the flexibility is returned to you. Take care of any major schedule adjustments that will benefit your children the most, such as that holiday trip they will never forget.

Be Courteous

Effective communication with your former partner during the holidays will go a long way in ensuring that you and your children have an amazing holiday. Be courteous in all that communication. They are likely experiencing a similar amount of stress. Courtesy may go a long way in smoothing out any wrinkles. Be courteous in letting them know as far in advance of any scheduling conflicts you have. Be courteous in accepting their scheduling conflicts. Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disagreements, hurt feelings, and unacceptable changes. Do not expect a Court to fix these last-minute problems, except in rare situations.

Be Conscientious

Understand the impact of what you are asking. You have an obligation to do what is right by your children. That obligation may take the form of giving up time so they can see grandma who came in from California. It may take the form of allowing them to go to a holiday party or special concert that impacts your time with them. It may take the form of not having a fight directly in front of them with their other parent, even though you really want to and the facts are on your side. It may take the form of more travel obligations on your part. It may even take the form of helping them pick out and pay for a present for their other parent. Do what is right by your children. They won’t be upset at you for being conscientious.


The bonus C is to communicate. You do not have to accept every demand from your children’s other parent. It is a give and take, which both parents need to understand and accept. The communication of the needs and demands from this holiday season should be as clear as possible, and given as far in advance as possible. And remember, wants are different from needs. Differentiate between them so that the holidays can be as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.

If you have any questions about parenting time and need help with determining the best custody options for you and your children this holiday season, contact Brian McFadden or call us at 732-545-4717.