For families going through their first holiday season after a divorce, there may be a lot of uncertainty in the air. How does visitation work during the holidays? Will the children be okay emotionally splitting the holidays between two different households? Fortunately, we have created a list of helpful tips to guide you can reference to hopefully guide you through your first holiday season after a divorce.
Establish a Holiday Plan in Advance
If you do not create a holiday plan before the holidays, you may find yourself stressing over how to co-parent, split time, and create a schedule for your child(ren) that makes everyone happy. Also, waiting until the last minute to establish a plan could lead to confusion and frustration as it is safe to assume both parents think that their child(ren) will spend time with them.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when putting a holiday plan together:
- Which parent the child will spend Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with, and if splitting the day between parents how that will work out
- Which traditions, games, activities, and presents each parent will be responsible for
- Whether any holiday festivities can be done together (such as pumpkin carving, trick-o-treating, Thanksgiving dinner, and/or Christmas day)
- Who will pick the child(ren) up and drop them off
Determine If You Want to Split, Share, or Divide the Holidays
Have an honest conversation with your ex-spouse and child(ren) to determine what makes the most sense for all of you. Perhaps you want to split the holidays, dividing those special days in half so each parent gets the child(ren) for 50% of the time. You could also share the holiday time all together. This is especially beneficial for younger children and parents who can set their differences aside for the sake of their young ones. You could also divide the holidays equally so one parent could get Christmas while the other gets Halloween, Thanksgiving, and birthdays. This type of arrangement is appropriate when parents have a hard time getting along amicably or they do not live near one another, making transportation difficult.
Encourage Communication & Quality Time with Family Members
Just because you and your ex-spouse got a divorce does not mean your child(ren) can no longer see their extended family. Encouraging communication between your child(ren) and your ex-spouse’s family is beneficial to the child(ren) who are probably just as concerned as you are over how the holidays will go after your divorce. This creates a sense of routine and normalcy for the kid(s), which they will appreciate.
Take Time for Yourself
If you and your ex-spouse decide to swap holiday schedules annually, you might find yourself without your child(ren) this Thanksgiving. Instead of feeling upset, take this time to do something for yourself. You now have the free time to take that vacation you always wanted to or spend an entire weekend to yourself doing whatever it is that you love to do. View this as a blessing and let your ex-spouse worry about the festivities.
Work with an Attorney & Get a Court Order
If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on how to celebrate the holidays, the best thing to do would be to consult with a lawyer and obtain a court order to remedy this. While it is typically easier and less expensive to do so outside of court, sometimes a judge’s assistance is needed to determine a fair holiday schedule split between parents.
Consult with an Experienced Lawyer at Our Firm
At the Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis, we believe in the importance of family. That is why we strive to provide our clients with personalized and effective legal solutions to their family law matters. If you are struggling to create a fair parenting schedule for you and your ex-spouse before the holidays kick off, do not hesitate to contact our office today.