The holidays are traditionally focused on family, but what happens when divorce requires splitting holiday time and family celebrations between two households? If things are tense between you and your former spouse, you may find it difficult to come up with a workable plan to share the children during the holidays. However, setting your differences aside for the sake of the children is the best approach to coparenting under any circumstances, but especially during the season of special family traditions that are sure to put an emotional strain on parents and children alike.
Whether or not your former spouse can get on board, the goal should be to create a plan that keeps family joy at the center of your seasonal plans, which will ease the anxieties the children are likely to feel around the new arrangements in the family holiday schedule.
If you can keep your focus on the goal of providing a loving family atmosphere, you and your children can enjoy beloved family traditions and create new traditions together.
What Are Some Options to Split Holiday Time Fairly?
In some families, it is clear which family traditions involve which parent. A Christmas Eve feast at Mom’s may be a given, whereas Dad’s New Year’s Day pancake breakfasts are not to be missed. These clear-cut distinctions may make it easier to decide how holiday time-sharing is decided. However, even when some events are easy to plan for, both parents are likely to want the children overnight on Christmas Eve, for the midnight countdown on New Year’s Eve, or for other similarly singular occasions.
One option is for parents to switch off every other year. For example, Mom might get the children overnight on Christmas Eve and Dad can pick them up on Christmas afternoon for a second set of celebrations one year. The following year, it flips the other way when Dad can have pre-Santa bedtime and Christmas morning and Mom will take over for the later part of Christmas Day.
Other families, especially those that live far apart, switch off every other year so that one parent gets to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas with the children and the other gets to have them for Thanksgiving or New Year celebrations, or both.
Must I Include My Ex-spouse in the Holiday Events with My Children?
If having your former spouse around is stressful for you or, especially, your children, it may be best to avoid putting everyone through forced together time. As long as you and your ex-spouse can work out a fair arrangement for each of you to spend time with the children, it is perfectly fine to keep your interactions to a cordial minimum.
Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Provide Legal Advice and Services to Divorced Clients
Divorced parents with children face special challenges, including custody issues and the question of how to handle holiday celebrations. The Cherry Hill divorce lawyers at Burnham Douglass can help you with custody and visitation concerns, alleviating some of your anxiety by helping you to understand your legal options. Contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. We are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.