For most divorced families, splitting the holidays is an emotionally wrenching task, especially when an idyllic, picture-perfect holiday season is all you’ve ever dreamed of for your children. Holiday arrangements for divorced parents vary from family to family, but in many instances, the schedule is established and set by the parties involved at the time of the divorce. Most often this includes a division of the holidays – either alternating the holidays each year, or perhaps crafting a more specific plan that includes sharing the actual holiday. While it may be difficult for the children to spend a holiday away from one parent or the other, there are things that you can do to try to ease the transition.
First, remember that it’s in the children’s best interest that you co-parent amicably. This will make everyone’s lives easier as it will reduce conflict all around. You should also encourage your children to spend time with both parents during the holiday season. In truth, you should always encourage the children to have a relationship with the other parent, but it’s especially important at Christmastime when emotions are running particularly high. A child who does not see the other parent very frequently may be hesitant to spend the holiday with them, and that will simply lead to more stress and headaches down the line. Also be sure that you are not disparaging the other parent directly to the children, or in instances when the children might be able to hear. While you may not be in a relationship with the other parent any longer, the children continue to love and care for that person, and hearing you speak poorly about them may cause them to become upset – during the holiday season or any time throughout the year.
It is also a good idea to coordinate with your ex in terms of what gifts you will each be getting the children. You don’t want to cause confusion about why Santa brought the exact same gifts to Mom’s house as Dad’s. You also don’t want to be in a situation where one parent rushes out and buys all of the top gifts on the kids’ lists, leaving the other parent to give socks. If you are able to communicate with your ex, it will go a long way in ensuring that the children have an amazing Christmas.
While this may not be the norm, some divorced couples are so amicable with one another that they are able to continue celebrating big holidays together. This is ideal, as the children are able to continue enjoying the holidays as they always had in the past. However, if you are not able to do this without making nasty comments to each other, it is best that you work together to schedule separate family events that work for everyone’s schedules. For example, if your soon-to-be ex-husband normally celebrates Christmas Eve with his family, keep in mind that it would be nice for the kids to be able to continue that tradition with their dad. Finally, try to be flexible in your scheduling: if Grandma is only going to be in town on Christmas Day, it would be nice for the children to be able to see her, even if it cuts into your scheduled time. It will forever be in the kids’ best interest to enjoy happy, healthy and fun Christmases with their family.
If you are considering a divorce, the attorneys at DeTorres & DeGeorge can help. Call 908-284-6005 to schedule a consultation today.