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5 ways to keep the peace when holiday custody issues arise

This holiday season, you may be no different from other parents who look forward to spending time with their children. Maybe your calendar is loaded with gatherings, parties, pageants and concerts, and you hope to join other family members in their celebrations. There is only one thing holding you back: your joint custody order.

If you and your ex-spouse are still in the early years since your divorce, it may be difficult to meet him or her with requests to alter the custody schedule for holiday events. Nevertheless, here are five tips to help you get the most out of your meeting.

  • Be prepared

You may be tempted to go into the meeting ready to demand everything you want. However, a few reflective moments will help you focus on the one or two moments over the holidays that are most precious to you, allowing you to compromise on the others.

  • Be clear

Custody is often a matter of dates and times, and as busy as the holidays are, these details are even more important. Your co-parent will be better able to make a commitment to changes in the custody plan if you know the dates and times in question. Ask the other parent for the same clarity.

  • Be calm

Your former partner may rile you with little effort, but this meeting is for the sake of creating as nice a holiday for the children as possible. Remember that as much as you want to share these memories with the children, so does your spouse, so it is important not to minimize your spouse's requests. Listen to your co-parent's concerns by placing yourself in his or her shoes.

  • Be adults

Child advocates recommend that you keep your holiday disagreements private from the children. They may already have anxiety about the holidays because of the separation, and knowing their parents are fighting over them may raise that anxiety. More importantly, it is unfair to the children for their parents to ask them to decide where they want to spend the holidays. This kind of game playing may have untold emotional consequences.

  • Be realistic

Just because you want the schedule to change does not mean your partner will have the same urgency to adjust for you. You may be less likely to get what you want if you have requested numerous changes in the schedule in the past or created inconvenience for your former spouse by not adhering to the plan. Expect the possibility that he or she will deny your request and be ready to accept the answer with dignity.

Child custody matters can create tension at the holidays or throughout the year. If you feel your custody plan is not working or you are dealing with a co-parent who refuses to comply with the court orders, you may want to resolve these issues with the help of a Louisiana legal professional.

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