Holidays traditions are important for families all across the country. There are food, presents, and the feelings of fellowship granted by being able to get together. While the holidays signify time with family, these traditions can be upset in cases of divorce. Not only has the family been separated, there are negotiations over who will have custody of the children during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. With cooperation, patience, and grace, divorced parents can work out new traditions for the sake of their children, while maintaining the positive feelings that the holidays signify.
Ways to Alter Holiday Plans for Divorced Parents
There are a few ways to make changes to your holiday plans in order to ensure time with your children after a contested divorce in Anniston or wherever you are in Alabama, and if planned far enough in advance it can go smoothly.
Option #1: Traditional Odds and Evens
With this option, Christmas Eve hours will be December 24 (starting at 11 AM) and ending on December 25 at 11 AM. Christmas Day will be the 25th starting at 11 AM and ending on December 26th at 11 AM. Parental custody will alternate on odd and even years, with the father having the children on odd years, and the mother having the children on even years.
With the rotation of child custody, each parent will have an equal amount of time to spend with the children with Christmas Eve and Day being divided up in this manner. Naturally, the hours can be altered (it does not necessarily have to be 11 AM) if the parents can agree to it.
Another positive is that there is no confusion about the time that parents will get to have the children. The demarcation of time eliminates a lot of stress.
Children may have a hard time adjusting to spending one part of the holidays with one parent only, especially since children associate holidays with being together. It might be good to set aside some time for a Zoom or Skype session each day with your former spouse for the sake of continuity.
Option #2: Shared Time for Present Opening
Like odds and evens, parents will alternate custody on different years, but the difference is that the other parent will be invited to spend part of Christmas morning with the children and their former spouse for the sake of opening presents.
The benefits for the children cannot be overstated, and if the parents can manage to get along the children can have an enjoyable Christmas morning.
Moods can change, and though an agreement may have been worked out in advance, there is no guarantee that the parents will be able to get along during Christmas morning. Only try this option if you can truly find the patience to work with your former spouse.
Option #3: Mutual Agreement Each Year
The mother and father will get together well in advance of Christmas in order to establish the parenting schedule for Christmas Eve and Day after a divorce in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The odds and evens technique might not work for parents if they have an irregular schedule, with work or travel getting in the way, so the option to have advanced negotiations can keep all parties informed.
The lack of consistency and predictability can have a negative effect on the children. And while it may be ideal to have these types of negotiations, some parents may find that they can’t reach a mutual agreement.
Option #4: Option to Travel, But Equal Time Otherwise
Parties will agree to the option that mothers and fathers can have the option to travel outside of the state with the children during the years that they have custody. Notification will be made by December 1st at the latest.
Some family’s holiday traditions might include travel, and being able to maintain that may be beneficial for the children. Getting to see grandparents and other relatives can be a net positive.
The main challenge is the fact that children will only be with one parent during the holidays. One work around would be that the other parent come up with an alternative day for Christmas either before or after they travel.
Option #5: Creative Negotiation to Keep Family Traditions
One parent will have the children for Christmas Eve evening every year to be with the parent and their extended family. Afterwards the parent will spend the night with the parent. This will rotate on odd and even years.
Some immediate and extended families have their own traditions that are worth maintaining, and it is worth keeping them going after a divorce.
If either parent is no longer taking part in the larger holiday tradition then Christmas can be difficult for them. There may be feelings of being left out, so it might be worth asking if they would be willing to participate.
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!