Whether you are newly separated or you are facing your first holiday season as a divorced person, being a parent and sharing your children during the holiday season can be tricky. Oftentimes, both parents want to spend time with their children and extended family or family from out of town by vying for their attention as well. It can be overwhelming to figure out how parents will share responsibility of their children during the holidays, but with a little creativity and flexibility, it is still possible to have a memorable and meaningful holiday season.
When planning for the holiday season as a newly-divorced or separated parent, there are a few things to keep in mind. A little bit of holiday stress is to be expected but there are steps you can take to plan a holiday parenting time schedule that is fair to you, your spouse, and your children.
The first bit of advice that experts agree on is that being vindictive or intentionally cruel to your ex-spouse is never helpful. Understandably, most people who get divorced have feelings of anger toward their ex—especially if the break up was not amiable. However, it is important to “be the bigger person” in this circumstance. Although your ex is no longer your romantic partner, he or she is still the parent of your children. As difficult as it may be, try to keep a positive attitude and be willing to work with your ex to figure out the holiday plan. If you are slow to anger and quick to accommodate, this will hopefully encourage your ex to do the same for you.
Another word of advice is to keep the lines of communication open between you and your ex. It may be best to have either a face-to-face conversation about the holiday plans or a phone conversation. Sometimes it is hard to get details straight if you rely on text messages. You may even consider using a shared calendar to schedule holiday visits. Google Calendar, Cozi, and OurFamilyWizard have apps that allow multiple people to access and edit calendars. This way, parents can be totally sure of what the schedule is.
Experts also warn against using your children to communicate with your former partner. It is very stressful for a child to be in charge of delivering messages between parents, and it leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding. Intentional communication and planning is best.
Let Us Help
If you are in the midst of a divorce or are considering the process, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney to discuss your available options. Call 630-377-7770 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.