Now that it’s December, we’re deep in the holiday season. Everywhere you look, homes and buildings are adorned with Christmas lights. The malls are crowded with shoppers, Starbucks is featuring its holiday beverages, people are preparing for big feasts, and the airports are bustling – all in anticipation of the holidays.
When you’re a parent in an intact family, the holidays usually bring feelings of warmth and good cheer, but when you’re a parent going through a divorce, it’s like you’re slamming on the brakes. All of a sudden, what used to be a joyous season, becomes a season filled with worry or even dread.
Will you see your children over Hanukkah or Christmas? Will you be all alone, child-free on Christmas? Can you still celebrate the way you always did? In this article, we explain how divorcing parents typically handle child custody over the holidays.
When Exes Get Along Well
Are you one of the lucky ones who have a good relationship with your ex? If so, you don’t necessarily have to give up anything at all. If you’ll both be in town over the holidays and you are “still friends,” you may want to consider celebrating the holidays as one big, happy family as you usually do. And, as significant others enter the picture, both sides can warmly welcome them with open arms, showing the children that everyone can get along.
Spending the Holidays Separately
When exes get along so well they can spend the holidays together, it’s fantastic, but that’s often the exception, not the norm. If you cannot fathom spending the holidays with your ex, another (very popular) alternative is to alternate holidays and rotate them every year. This type of arrangement works well with the majority of divorced couples.
Do You Have a High-Conflict Family?
If you have a high-conflict divorce, our advice is to be very detailed about child custody over the holidays in your divorce agreement. Do not use vague language or leave room for interpretation. Then, as the holidays arrive, strictly adhere to the terms in the divorce agreement about child custody.
As time passes, old wounds should start to heal. As long as you and your former spouse stick to the child custody agreement, you should be able to slowly restore trust. Once trust is re-established, a more flexible arrangement should emerge naturally.
If you’re looking for a divorce attorney, contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. to schedule your free initial consultation.