The holiday season can be one of the most difficult times for families where the couple is divorced — particularly if it’s your first year living as a split family. Both parents want to spend quality time with their children on the special days, such as Christmas and New Year’s. One or both parents may want to make plans to take the kids on vacation. Then, of course, there are grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members from both sides who want time with the children.
There’s no reason why your divorce has to make the holidays any less enjoyable for your children. The key is to have a plan, yet be flexible. First and foremost, however, it’s important to put your children’s well-being above any issues that you may still have with your ex.
— Make your holiday plans early in December. You may not be able to do everything you want in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Plan some holiday activities, such as movies, baking, buying and decorating the tree and other traditions throughout the month. Work out exchange details with your ex so that there’s less confusion and stress later on.
— Be prepared to be flexible. If you don’t get your kids on Christmas Day, make Christmas Eve or whatever time you have with them special. Most kids won’t object to celebrating Christmas more than once.
— If you and your ex do have disagreements about the holiday schedule, don’t put your kids in the middle of it. Settle things between yourselves. Kids should never be asked to choose between their parents during the holidays — or any other time.
If the holidays turn out to be a serious source of conflict between you and your ex, you may want to consider amending your custody and visitation agreements to avoid these problems in the future. This may help you make next year’s holiday season more enjoyable for all.
Source: Huffington Post, “5 Tips for Divorced Families This Holiday Season,” Jamie Scrimgeour, Dec. 03, 2015