Patrick M. Noe, Jr., Attorney at Law
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4 tips for dealing with joint custody over the holidays

Busy parents in New York know how quickly time flies. One minute it's summer and you're taking the kids to camp, and the next you're pulling winter coats and boots out of storage in preparation for winter's arrival.

Soon enough, the holidays will be upon us, and for many people, that means life can get hectic. If you're divorced and share custody of your kids with your ex, it may be time to start thinking about a plan.

Whether you have been divorced for several years, or you are new to dealing with child custody matters during the holidays, here are a few ideas to help you make the most of this holiday season:

1. Be realistic and fair. When thinking through custody over the holidays, it is easy to let emotions get in the way; it can be difficult to think about not spending time you're your children on important days. However, when you share custody with your ex, it is important to think carefully and rationally about what makes sense.

Maybe you decide that alternating years is the best option. Or, if you live near each other, maybe you can share the day - or days. For example, if your family does a Christmas Eve celebration, maybe you can take the kids that day and drop them off with Mom or Dad on Christmas morning. Just make sure whatever you decide on is doable given your schedule.

2. When you do find an agreement, stick to it. This means more than just following through with dropping your kids off at your ex's. It also means giving your ex his or her agreed-upon time with the kids. Try not to call too much, and focus instead on how important it is for your children to have strong relationships with both of their parents.

3. Consider celebrating twice. Holidays are less about the actual date they fall on than they are about the way you celebrate. If your children are spending Thanksgiving Day with your ex this year, pick an evening before or after the actual holiday to make your own turkey dinner. You can even invite your side of the family if you want. Your kids will get twice the fun, and you will get to spend quality time with them.

4. Try to enjoy yourself. It can be hard to do without your kids. Any divorced parent knows that. But when your kids are with your ex, try to focus on the good that is happening. Maybe you are surrounded by loving and supportive family and friends, or maybe you have some rare alone time to relax. Whatever your situation may be this holiday season, making the most of it can help you not only get through it, but also enjoy it.

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