During this time of year, children are usually looking forward to the holiday season. This anticipation could turn into anxiety if they sense it will be handled as a point of contention rather than a new form of celebration. Each family is different and how they celebrate is unique. Issues such as travel distances, financial resources, other family obligations will all need to be considered. Even if you were last minute in previous celebrations, when it comes to co-parenting after divorce, it makes sense to start thinking about planning out holiday season celebrations in advance.
Prepare a Holiday Custody and Visitation Schedule
Parents should prepare a specific custody and visitation schedule for the holiday season. Certain companies offer software to help in the process. Options for sharing custody are:
- Alternating holidays
- Dividing the day between both parents
- Celebrating the holiday on different days
- Spending the holidays together
Different methods will work better for different holidays. Celebrating on different days can work for many holidays. For example, spending Thanksgiving with one parent and spending the following weekend with the other parent will avoid disrupting the day and allow the children to relax.
Dealing with Grief and Loss
The first set of holidays after a divorce are likely to be rough on all parties involved. It can be helpful to focus on the meaning of the holiday being celebrated. During Thanksgiving, remember all that you have and be grateful for it. Share that sense of gratitude with each of your family members in a way that works for you. Instead of dwelling on old traditions, create new ones with your family members. When thinking about Christmas, think about grace and forgiveness. While it may not be easy, letting go of the tension between you and your ex-spouse can ease the stress of the holiday season.
Children are perceptive. If you try to set aside differences to enable a family holiday to be fun and drama-free, they will be put at ease and can enjoy themselves. If you do not make an effort, they may not be able to enjoy their holiday. Further, they may feel devalued, and that they are used as pawns, or worse. During and immediately after a divorce, children are particularly vulnerable. It is important for parents to be proactive in easing the children into their new normal. Addressing how holidays will be celebrated is a big part of this work.
Baltimore County Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients Create Parenting Plans for the Holidays
If you are considering divorce, there are many issues to consider, particularly when shared custody arrangements must be determined. Our experienced Baltimore County child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. Call us at 443-589-0150 or complete an online form to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.