Making holiday plans can be difficult for any family. There is no shortage of places to be, family to visit, food to prepare, gifts to buy and wrap, and countless other considerations. When divorce and child custody considerations are added to the mix, the challenges often increase dramatically. In addition to the “normal” holiday arrangements, you and your family will likely need to contend with parenting time, transportation concerns, and, in many cases, additional places to go and people to see.
Recommit to Cooperation
Your parenting agreement may already contain explicit provisions regarding where your child will spend which holidays. Whether it does or not, the greatest gift you can give your child at this time of year is an increased level of cooperation between you and the other parent. Whatever problems you may have with one another, they can wait until a more appropriate time. If you need to develop a holiday schedule, try to remember that it is very unlikely that plans are being made with the intention of making your life more difficult. Work together in a way that maximizes your child’s enjoyment, even if it means a little sacrifice from each of you.
For many, the holidays get even more complicated years after the divorce, as remarriage and blended families become part of the equation. You and your new spouse obviously will want to share the holidays with your child, along with your spouse’s children, as appropriate. Keep in mind that the other parent and his or her new spouse will want to do the same. This could mean developing new family traditions that respect each new relationship, possibly requiring some creative planning and coordination. With communication, such a plan can work, allowing all of you a fulfilling holiday experience.
There is significant research to support that children of divorced or unmarried parents tend to fare best when the adults can work together. If cooperation has been a sticking point for you and your ex until now, you may be able to use the holiday season to find some common ground. A simple gesture like an invitation for a cup of coffee or a small, thoughtful gift could help open the door to future discussions. Even the smallest step forward is an improvement. You can also demonstrate to your child that it is possible to work through even the toughest of personal situations and come out better for it.
If the holiday season raises questions regarding your custody or parenting plan that may need to be addressed when the celebrations end, contact an experienced family law attorney in Kane County. We can provide the sound legal advice you need to make responsible decisions regarding the care of your children. Call our office today to schedule your free initial consultation.