FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2011-11-15
For divorced and separated parents, the holiday season is hardly the “most wonderful time of the year.” Most have to prepare for emotional and contentious battles over family activities and school functions, all while trying to give their children experiences that will last a lifetime. It’s difficult to share holiday bliss with someone you despise, but it doesn’t have to be. The following tips can help you avoid holiday turmoil.
Plan Early – Making requests several weeks in advance can help to avoid last minute arguments over where the kids will be on Christmas Eve, or whether they see grandma on Thanksgiving. Also, by communicating early you can create reasonable contingency plans in case something goes awry.
Know Your Order – You should be familiar with all the details, such as pick up and drop off times, locations, as well as what days and what parts of the holiday each parent gets. If you know and understand your decree, you should be able to handle unanticipated changes without too much difficulty.
Celebrate Together -- Holidays are family time, and a time to be merry. Your kids will be grateful if you can coexist and celebrate together. It also sets a great example for children on how to move on after a break up.
Be Flexible – Don’t worry if you don’t get the kids for Christmas Eve, you can still have a great time on Christmas Day. Even if you don’t see them on Christmas morning, life still goes on. For kids, it really doesn’t matter what day a holiday falls on, as long as they get to spend time you. Remember, children are surprisingly resilient. They just want you there and show that you care.
Be Nice to Your Ex – The holidays are rooted in the old adage “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men”. Spreading holiday cheer helps to smooth over past disputes. After all, if you can't get along and really need to have your way holiday season, a great gift would be to offer your ex their first choice for the next major holiday.
If you still have issues creating (or enforcing) a holiday parenting plan, an experienced family law attorney can help.