Children truly make the holidays magical. During the holiday season, when families are gathering, being away from children can be heartbreaking. If you’re struggling through a divorce or separation, this time of the year can be a big source of contention when it comes to deciding parenting time. If this is an issue you’re working through this year, here are a few tips to consider:
Work out a plan ahead of time. If it’s not official yet, make it official now. What makes the most sense for parenting time over the holidays? Maybe you want to alternate years or maybe Thanksgiving is more meaningful for one parent while the other parent prefers Christmas. If everyone lives close by, maybe splitting the day in half is reasonable. Or for the Christmas holidays, maybe you alternate the entire two-day Christmas Eve/Christmas Day holidays every other year. In even years one parent gets both days and in odd years the other parent gets both days. Or maybe one parent takes Christmas Eve in all even years and Christmas Day in all odd years, while the other parent takes Christmas Eve in all odd years and Christmas Day in all even years. Whatever you decide, decide it early. Let the kids and extended family members in on the plan so they know exactly what to expect and can be supportive.
Think about traditions. Just because the parents have split does not mean traditions can’t continue. Even if it’s not your year to have the kids on Christmas Day, you can take advantage of visits before or after the holiday to make the magic last a little longer. It’s a good idea to talk with your former spouse ahead of time to make sure kids won’t be overwhelmed. If one parent loves Christmas jammies, let that tradition go with them. You take the next one. The time following a divorce or separation is also a good time to start new traditions. You may not have decorated cookies with your kids in the past but maybe this year is the time to give it a try. You get to decide what your parenting time looks like!
Keep your loved ones close. Spending precious holiday time away from your children is difficult. Make a plan to do something for yourself during that time. Visit friends or family and make new traditions doing all the fun things you can’t do with the kids or use the time away to plan new surprises for when you see the kids again. Take advantage of those silent nights and find a new way to unwind and relax. You deserve it!
Go easy on yourself. Do NOT make the holidays a competition with your former spouse. More than anything your kids want your attention and love. You don’t have to be the parent who buys the most presents or makes the best pie. Just be the parent who enjoys every second of being together!
If you feel like you’re not getting the parenting time or holiday time that you deserve, you may want to consult an attorney. We’re here to help in any way we can. Call today for a consult.
Pangerl Law Firm P.L.L.C. focuses on divorce, child custody, mother’s and father’s rights, child support, and all other areas of family law, as well as personal injury claims. Our office is located in Deer Valley and serves the greater Phoenix area, including the communities of Scottsdale, Peoria, Glendale, Cave Creek, Avondale, Goodyear, Surprise, Mesa, Tempe, Anthem, New River, North Phoenix and Phoenix. For more information, call: 602-942-6200. Photo by Kio.