By Matthew Marcellino

We all know the Holidays can be a bit stressful, whether it’s setting up decorations, Christmas shopping, or planning Holiday travel. Going through a divorce or separation will add an additional layer of stress to the Holidays when new traditions must be adopted to accommodate new family structures and schedules. And don’t forget that it’s 2020, so add COVID-19 into the mix.   As you plan for the Holidays, consider these tips on how to navigate child custody so you and your family can be happy, safe, and hopefully as stress-free as possible.

Define Holiday exchanges early on

If you have a court order or agreement, Holidays should be defined clearly in the agreement, and both parents should do their best to adhere to that schedule, including times for communication between the kids and the non-custodial parent. We all know it doesn’t always go as planned, and things can come up last minute, so it’s crucial to keep clear communication with the other parent.

How does COVID-19 affect Holiday travel?

COVID-19 has impacted every part of our daily lives, but you must keep in mind that fear of COVID-19 should not stop you from following a child custody agreement.  The current executive order clearly states that custodial exchanges are deemed essential and permissible travel under all circumstances. If the other parent has plans for travel, it is always best to directly communicate your concerns. If they are unwilling to talk with you respectfully or work out other arrangements, you should perhaps reach out to your attorney for advice on how to proceed.

Rethink Holiday Visitation During Covid-19

If you typically fly out of state with your child for Holiday travel, consider driving instead. This may keep contact with others at a minimum. If driving or flying is not an option, Zoom calls are a perfect way for your child to see many family members during the Holidays.

Be flexible

Not being with your child every Holiday can be challenging. Remember, your child wants to see all of their family members, and the holidays are magical to them. Always keep your child’s best interest at heart. Be open to compromise, and make sure the child is not involved in any arguments or parental conflict.

Create new traditions

Rethink how you usually spend the holidays with your children. Maybe this is the year you host a cookie decorating (and, let’s be honest, probably eating) contest.  Perhaps you can record a fun “year in review” video you can share with your friends online. Whatever you do, make sure to keep the Holiday spirit alive and well for your children.

Hopefully we can all wrap up 2020 better than it started.  We wish everyone an amazing Holliday Season!

Our experienced team of Family Law Attorneys at Marcellino & Tyson are happy to schedule a consultation with you to discuss your individual needs. Feel free to reach out to us at (704) 919-1519.