Separation and divorce are painful experiences, especially around the holidays. The feelings you have may become even more difficult to deal with if you want to take a holiday trip with your child and you have to worry about the reaction of your ex.
It’s probably not an option to just pack up and go wherever you want or whenever you want. If you’re divorced, you likely have custody arrangements that you have to follow before you plan to take your child on a trip. Even if you have sole custody of your child, you should let your ex know that you plan to take a trip with the child you share.
You should have a legal document in place that clearly defines custodial arrangements can save a lot of headaches. This document can be very detailed, defining specific time periods each parent will have the child.
A document is especially important if you and your ex are unable to come to agree on terms regarding custody. If a judge determines the custodial arrangements, you will need to follow this document and only plan trips during the time periods that the document authorizes you to do so.
When You’re Newly Separated
It may be hard to communicate with your ex when the divorce dust has just settled. It may take some time before you’re able to talk to each other without erupting into heated arguments.
Both of you will have to work at separating the feelings you have toward each other from the feelings you have toward your child or children. Remember that your children won’t enjoy a holiday if you fight with your ex beforehand. You should also be sure to avoid making your children feel guilty about spending time with your ex.
Be Fair To Your Children
No matter what disagreements you and your ex may have in the future, you should always try to calm yourself down by keeping sight of what is important. You need to raise your child in as happy a home as possible, so you and your ex ultimately need to behave like mature adults for the benefit of your children. Your children’s feelings need to be taken into consideration before engaging in angry disputes about who gets to spend the holidays with your children.
Talk to each other as calmly and rationally as possible. Your child loves you both and your job as parents is to give them time and attention. You also need to set an example of self-restraint and maturity. You can compromise with your ex to switch off spending time with your children on different holidays each year. One year you can spend Thanksgiving with your children. The next year your ex can spend Thanksgiving with your children and you can go on a day trip with your children during Independence Day.
When You Just Can’t Get Along
If having civil conversations isn’t possible, you may need to consult the help of third party to come up with a mutual arrangement that you and your ex can agree on to raise your child. This is especially important if you were previously in an abusive situation and have any concerns about the safety of you or your children.
Professionals such as counselors or mediators can work with you to help you and your ex improve your ability to raise your child with or without the help of your ex. Using a mediator can help calm the storm between you and your ex and can build a foundation on which you can parent separately and in the best interest of your children. Only then, will you be able to take a regular holiday trips with your children.