One of the most challenging parts of going through the Illinois divorce process is navigating the co-parenting dynamic. This can especially be difficult during the holiday season, when both parents would likely prefer to spend time with their shared children but not necessarily with each other. Here are a couple of tips for making co-parenting easier for all parties when the holidays arrive.

First, it’s probably best for both parents to make requests rather than demands. For instance, instead of declaring that one parent will get to spend time with the children on certain nights, it is probably better to ask if certain nights are okay compared with other nights. Being as courteous as possible may help to set a more amicable tone for the holiday conversation and hopefully lead to a more mutually satisfactory outcome.

Second, it is paramount that both parents remain flexible during the holiday season. For instance, if one parent has to change a date due to a sudden schedule change, it might make sense for the other parent to accommodate the request, if at all possible. This can help to decrease stress and thus make the Thanksgiving or Christmas season more enjoyable for both the parents and the children.

The ideal situation for dealing with the holidays following divorce is for the divorcing parents to create a mutually agreed-upon parenting plan that spells out how they plan to handle their holiday time with the children going forward. This can be less acrimonious than going to divorce trial and having a judge make these decisions on behalf of the parents. Still, sometimes child custody and visitation matters simply cannot be resolved outside of court, in which case litigation is unavoidable. In either situation, an attorney in Illinois will push for his or her client’s best interests, as well as the children’s best interests in the long term.