The holidays can be stressful times. For children of divorced or separated parents, the holidays can be even more difficult. However, despite these challenges, divorcing or separating spouses still have the opportunity to create a happy holiday season for their children while still maintaining their own sanity. In this post, we will discuss some common custody arrangements that will help families avoid the additional stress of the court system as well as provide tips on how to make the holiday season enjoyable for everyone. (See also our other post on having a happy Halloween during a divorce.)
One of the most popular arrangements during the holidays is for the parents to alternate holidays for when they would have their children. For example, one year Dad will have custody of the children during Thanksgiving and New Years while Mom will have custody of the children during Christmas. During the next year, the holidays will be flipped.
Another common arrangement for the holiday season is for the parents to split the hours of each holiday. For example, Dad might have the children during Thanksgiving Day and at some agreed time later, arrange a drop-off so Mom will be able to spend Thanksgiving night with the children. This arrangement allows the children to spend at least some time with each parent.
Finally, some families choose to celebrate holidays together. As unconventional as this arrangement sounds, families that are able to commit to this type of arrangement often find this the most enjoyable for the children. The children do not have to be constantly traveling between parents and are able to spend time with all their family in one place. Of course, this is all predicated on the parents being able to spend the holidays together.. This type of arrangement truly requires the parents to act as “grown-ups”. Parents might have to “bite their tongues” and avoid talking about any of their issues from the past.
No matter which holiday custody arrangement you and your former spouse choose, it is always best to plan ahead. The holidays can be very stressful, and getting your holiday custody arrangement set ahead of time is one less thing that you will have to worry about. Your children will be able to mentally prepare themselves for their schedule and you will not have to scramble at the last minute to make your alternate plans. Be sure to use It’s Over Easy’s interactive co-parenting calendar for easy access to your parenting plan, and to create different custody schedules and arrangements.
Also, it’s always best to be flexible and creative during the holiday season. Even if you and your former spouse agree to a holiday arrangement for a given year, things happen. There may be instances where something last minute pops up and requires a change from the original plan. For these moments, its best to be flexible with the other parent so your children do not end up in an undesirable situation. You can also be creative with the holiday season. Just because Thanksgiving only occurs once a year, it doesn’t mean your children can only have one Thanksgiving dinner. If you will not be with your children on a particular holiday, consider celebrating the holiday with the children while you are with them the weekend before.
Finally, remember that it is helpful to focus on your children during these times.
At It’s Over Easy, you will have access to experienced parenting experts and co-parenting therapists that will help you get through the holidays. To start working with these professionals and begin your online divorce for free, visit It’s Over Easy.