Managing the Holidays, Children & Divorce: Helpful Tips

The holiday season can be a hectic one for anybody, but for parents with a recent, pending, or impending divorce, the logistics can be truly tough. From determining new arrangements to navigating shared parenting time, presents, and plans with extended family, divorcing or newly divorced parents can face many difficult decisions this time of year, as well as greater potential for problems.

As a law firm that focuses its practice on divorce and family law, our legal team at Moskowitz Law Group, LLC understands the challenges of the holiday season for those with various types of family cases. To help you better manage the season for yourself and your children, we’ve put together a few helpful tips:

  • Put children first – While the holidays are different for everyone, and although families come in all shapes and sizes, it’s important to remember they’re a special time of year for children. Whether this is your first holiday season after a recently finalized divorce or your divorce is still pending, experts recommend parents of minor children prioritize their kids and their experiences. That may mean learning how to communicate, compromise, and effectively co-parent, as well as learning how to let the small stuff slide, avoid arguments, and prevent battles with a former or soon-to-be-ex spouse from getting in the way of a child’s enjoyment of the holidays. Your children are neutral parties in the divorce, and they shouldn’t be used as pawns or points of contention when you and your spouse have disagreements.
  • Get your plans in place – As you approach the holidays, and especially any longer vacations from school, it’s important to ensure you have clear plans and expectations in place. Parents ultimately have the ability to determine share parenting time as part of their child custody agreements, including any unique arrangements during the holiday season. You can also seek a temporary order for child custody and visitation during a pending divorce to ensure you have a holiday plan. If you and your spouse have an amicable relationship, this may allow for flexibility with any departures from those plans, as well as plans for phone or video calls on holidays where a non-custodial parent doesn’t have custody. If you don’t you don’t, or if there are additional issues you wish to address, you can also seek court intervention to modify or enforce existing agreements when they’re not being followed.
  • Communication is key – Communication and coordination can go a long way in creating a stable schedule for your kids. This goes for any plans about scheduling, picks ups and drop offs, and even coordination on gifts. In fact, discussing what each spouse intends to give as a present can ensure both parents are on the same page, split costs for pricier presents, and save children from any stress gift-receiving can create, such as one parent outshining the other, or two parents getting the same gifts. Remember the holidays are not a competition, and your communication should be focused on your kids, even if you still have issues with your former spouse.
  • Embrace the holiday spirit – By putting aside whatever differences you and your former spouse may have, you can make the most of the holidays for your kids. Embrace the spirit of the season, if not for yourself, at least for your children. Consider making new traditions, celebrating a holiday outside of the actual date if your parenting plans don’t allow for it, and taking the time to ensure your kids are able to enjoy this time of year.
  • Think about extended family – Whether you have an amicable relationship with the other parent and their family or not, remember that they are still your child’s family. As such, you should carefully consider their ability to spend time with extended family, unless issues like domestic violence, substance abuse, or other concerns aren’t in the best interests of the children. Make plans ahead of time, consider compromises if certain extended family don’t have much flexibility with their arrangements, and get your child’s opinion if they’re old or mature enough to provide one.

The holidays can certainly make for challenges during and after divorce, but by prioritizing your kids in all you do, you can ensure they enjoy themselves in a consistent, safe, and stress-free environment. If you encounter problems or simply wish to learn more about your rights and options, you can seek the experienced counsel and insight of our proven attorneys at Moskowitz Law Group, LLC. Contact us online for a free consultation.

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