Making the Most of the Holidays while Sharing Custody of Your Children
For many recently-separated or divorced parents, the holidays can serve as a painful reminder of the memories and traditions you shared with your ex, causing you to feel sad and lonely during what should be a celebratory time. Rather than focusing on the ways that life will never be the same after a split, take this opportunity to think of ways to make the holidays a pleasant time for you, your kids, and even your ex.
- Create a holiday plan, and stick to it: If your divorce is already final, chances are that you’ve already agreed to a plan for the holidays with the court’s help. However, if you’re newly separated, you may not have had the opportunity to discuss a holiday plan in advance. In order to determine where your children will be for a holiday, try to have as calm as possible a discussion with your co-parent, and make sure that this conversation does not occur in front of the children. If your ex is dead-set on having the children on the actual day, rather than allowing it to become a drawn-out battle, make peace with having your children on the days surrounding the holiday and move on. Prolonging this fight could make your children tense and conflicted, feeling as though enjoying the holiday with one parent would be equivalent to betraying their other parent.
- If a disagreement can wait, let it wait. Some divorced or separated parents find themselves in court before the holidays, attempting to have the court issue a last-minute order on where the children should be for a holiday, or even covering disputes that could easily wait until the new year. Other divorced parents allow the stress of the holidays to get to them, resulting in tense discussions or all-out fights in front of the kids when exchanging custody. Try to set aside your differences, even if just for a brief time, to allow your children to enjoy the season.
- Celebrations don’t have to be on the holiday itself. If you do find yourself without custody of your child on the day of the holiday, that doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate with your kids. Have your own special meal and gathering of family on the day before or after the holiday itself. This will afford your kids even more time with family members and loved ones, reinforcing these bonds at a time when kids may feel uprooted by their parents’ split. Holding your own celebrations will also allow you to create new traditions for your family, making new memories rather than trying to recreate holidays from years past which won’t be the same.
For skilled, compassionate, and effective legal help with a custody dispute or divorce in Southern California, contact the Diamond Bar family law attorneys at Blasser Law for a consultation on your case, at 909-843-6363.