Co-Parenting for the Holidays: Get it in Email

It’s the week before Christmas, and you have booked your children’s flight to Colorado to meet you for a ski trip. The only problem? You find out the day before the flight that your children will not be waking up in their other parent’s home in Boston on Christmas morning, but at their grandparents’ home in Florida.

Such scenarios are all too common, whether due to purposeful subterfuge by your child’s other parent or mere miscommunication. While co-parenting can be at its most difficult during the holidays, there are steps you can take to keep planning on track.

  1. Get it in email. Never has “getting it in writing” been more natural. Confirming plans via email serves multiple purposes: it allows both parents to look up the information as a reminder, prevents misunderstandings, and if necessary can be provided to the court to show your efforts to cooperate with your child’s other parent.
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  3. Set polite deadlines. (By email, as per point 1.) “I plan to book flights by December 9th, can you let me know where you will be spending the holiday with the kids by then?” Propose a reasonable amount of time, leave buffer room for an extension, and give the other parent an opportunity to present an alternative confirmation date. Send a reminder email a few days before your requested deadline. If you are still left hanging, you will at least have a paper trail to provide to the court if you seek judicial intervention.
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  5. Remember that you can only control you. You cannot make your child’s other parent cooperate or value your holiday plans. Instead of expecting change, revel in your independence and take steps to prevent his or her inconsideration from ruining your holidays.

Post-divorce holidays may not always be easy, but by setting boundaries, you have the best possibility of harmony not only for the holidays but going forward as co-parents.

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