The holiday season is made up of memories spent with others, but when you go through a divorce those holiday traditions are thrown into a state of flux. How do you reconcile yourself to these new truths? What adjustments do you need to make to maintain the holiday spirit? This is further complicated when you are divorced with children, since their well-being and sense of the holidays must also be factored in.
Most parents want their children to maintain some semblance of positivity and joy around the holidays, and often they can accomplish this through alternative plans that see the children divided between households. At the same time, some divorced couples have made the choice to spend the holidays together with their children.
If you have been divorced for a few years, you have no doubt gotten used to arranging child custody around your and your ex’s schedule. If you are newly divorced, you and your former spouse are no doubt beginning the process of sorting out custody issues in the wake of the court’s determination. In either case, you may decide that this is the year worth trying a shared holiday. Many professional divorce mediators have created a plan for what that looks like, and it is a fairly simple process.
They make the case for the mother having the children during Christmas Eve, with the father being invited to share in the activities. This is followed by the mother and father having shared time on Christmas morning to watch the children open presents. If arrangements can be made for extending the shared custody through the day then they may do so. Finally, Christmas day will end with the children spending the evening with their father at his residence.
There are several pros and cons worth taking into consideration before attempting this arrangement. For the pros, shared custody and shared holidays are the pinnacle of healthy divorce arrangements and mediation. You and your former spouse will bring a calm presence to the holiday gathering, and this will set your children at ease. This can also lay the foundation for future shared holiday agreements, or other flexible plans with this and other holidays. Establishing openness and willingness to be adaptable and gracious to each other benefits all parties involved.
For the cons, there may be some unforeseen circumstances that can present challenges. How will you and your ex manage in the event of a new partner or remarriage? Will a new, blended family be welcome to the shared holiday? It can be possible to come to an agreement with these new partners and family members, but if not then you may need to suspend your holiday plans.
Recognizing that these things are beyond your control is important, and lessening conflict can be beneficial for your children. If the shared holiday cannot continue, there are still healthy options that you and your former spouse can implement. The fact that you have been able to work together in the past for the benefit of your children bodes well, and you should honor that. Give our local divorce lawyer a call today for a quick consultation.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!