The holidays are a joyful time — you decorate the tree, bake cookies, listen to Christmas music, and the children write letters to Santa Claus. However, divorce can throw a wrench into a normally fun and festive season. While divorce is never simple, it can seem especially complicated during the holidays.
It is important divorced parents make an effort to be civil during the holidays. Experts say the way the holidays are handled can set the tone for the upcoming year. There are many ways for you and your children to have a happy holiday, but there are certain actions or situations you should avoid.
1) Don’t Wait to Decide Custody Arrangements
For divorced parents, child custody becomes a key part of the holidays. A child doesn’t want to feel like a tennis ball being bounced back and forth between parents. Do not wait until the last minute to finalize custody plans. This includes taking the time to explain the arrangement with your child. It’s important to have a clear understanding of who gets custody during the holidays.
2) Don’t Make It “Too Perfect”
Sometimes divorced parents will try to overdo the holidays in order to make up for the family being separated. It is better — and healthier — to let go of unrealistic expectations rather than attempt to create a fairytale just because it’s the holidays. Be flexible. Take each day as it comes, and don’t try to be too perfect. Instead, focus on being together and having a simple, intimate holiday celebration.
3) Don’t Force Togetherness
No one wants to see their family separated during the holidays because of a divorce. But sometimes it’s better to be apart than force family time. If the divorce is still new, emotional wounds may be fresh. Seeing your ex-spouse may cause more harm than good, and your children will pick up on your feelings. Your child could still see both of you during the holidays by having alone time with each of you.
There is a lot happening during the holidays, and a divorce or separation adds more stress. However, it is imperative to find a way to work with your ex-spouse to create a positive holiday experience for your children. If you want to make new holiday custody arrangements, or don’t know how the holidays will affect arrangements you already have in place, reach out to Pacific Cascade Family Law today. Our experienced and supportive legal team will ensure all your questions are answered and will get you started on a path to a better tomorrow. Call us today for a consultation.