Co-parenting is rife with unexpected challenges, from differences in parenting styles to complex legal hurdles. Wanting to create a less stressful home life for your children was most likely a significant motivator for the separation. However holidays are especially complicated, and you may need to work with your former spouse more closely than you do during the rest of the year.
In order to minimize any (unwanted) horrors during this year’s Halloween, follow these six tips:
- Remember who Halloween is for. As adults, we tend to place less importance on Halloween than on other holidays. However Halloween is most likely a highlight of your child’s year, and this doesn’t change even after you and your former spouse have separated. Remember to put the kids first—the goal is for them to have a safe, fun, and memorable night.
- Communicate and carve out the details as soon as possible. See what day of the week Halloween lands on this year. In light of the holiday traditions, you may decide you would like to make changes to your normal visitation or custody arrangement. Communicate with both your co-parent and your child to prioritize fairness and avoid misunderstandings—and make sure at least one of you is taking care of the costume ahead of time!
- Stay flexible. What does everyone want to take part in this year, and how can it be made as fair as possible? Depending on your child’s age, he or she will want to take part in a variety of Halloween traditions, and you and your co-parent can divide up the time in many ways. Activities such as pumpkin carving, decorating, party-throwing, and costume-making can take place on the weekend or weekdays leading up to the holiday. If you are unable to trick-or-treat with your child, these alternatives will help you secure the quality time you both deserve.
- Consider your options for trick-or-treating. Depending on your comfort level with your former spouse, you may decide to go as a family. Be honest with yourselves about this. Better to acknowledge that you need space from your former spouse than to put your child through a night of arguments that take away the fun of Halloween. If you know this won’t go well, consider splitting it up instead. Your child would never dream of turning down the opportunity to trick-or-treat in two different neighborhoods—one for each parent.
- Consider working with a facilitator if these arrangements are too difficult. Negotiating the time you spend with your child during holidays is a frustrating process, but in the end, the rewards outweigh the struggle. Your child notices and remembers the effort you make to spend as much quality time with them as possible.
- Finally, enjoy! Your child will likely be dressed in an adorable, thrilling, or downright embarrassing costume. This is a time for you to get creative, take photos, celebrate with friends, and eat your child’s candy when they’re not looking.
Working with your former spouse regarding visitation arrangements is ideal but not always feasible. If you need professional assistance from an attorney with more than 30 years of experience, call Chesterfield, Missouri’s Galmiche Law Firm, P.C. at (636) 552-4841 or schedule a free, in-person initial consultation.