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How To Deal With Holidays & Divorce

How To Deal with Divorce During Holiday

Kids of Divorce and the Holidays

Kids of Divorce and the Holidays

The Holidays can be stressful even in the best of situations. However, when children are split between parents for the holidays, a new level of stress can arise. While we may want to keep the traditions of our childhood or traditions we created during marriage, after separation or divorce we need to re-assess and change our expectations about when and how we celebrate the holidays.


Typically, a custodial plan includes sharing holidays with the other parent. Perhaps you will share Thanksgiving Day, or alternate the Thanksgiving weekend on a yearly basis. One parent might celebrate Hanukah and other celebrates Christmas. Your child will have the best of both parent’s traditions when each parent cooperates to make the child’s holiday with either parent a joyous time. You and your spouse might easily agree on how to share the holidays. However, when an amicable agreement cannot be reached, your attorney, a court mediator, or a judge can assist you in creating a holiday schedule that will allow your child to enjoy quality time with each parent. Regardless of how the holiday schedule is created, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your children should enjoy the holiday without guilt of enjoying a special day with only one parent.

Father & Kids

Here are a few suggested approaches on keeping the holiday-stress at bay:

• Start planning early — Halloween is always on October 31st and Christmas always lands on December 25th. Don’t wait until the last moment to communicate with other the other parent about holidays scheduling and events.

• Take a positive approach about sharing the holiday with the other parent. Engage your child in planning the holiday with the other parent, and how you will celebrate when the child returns to your home.

• Make gift-giving a meaningful and pleasurable event. The holidays can turn into a teaching moment for the children — are holidays all about what they receive? This is a great time to teach the children to think about the other parent, extended family on both sides, and friends. Shopping with your children and helping them pick out a gift for their father or mother will also help your children understand that while you and your ex-spouse were unable to continue living together, you still acknowledge the other parent as a significant person in your child’s life.

• Create new holiday traditions with your children – Thanksgiving on Friday instead of Thursday; a traditional Fourth of July picnic on July 3rd! If your child is old enough to handle a camera have him take pictures of your picnic to share with the other parent, and perhaps he can take pictures of the fireworks on the 4th to share with you. Create a photobook of “new holidays” so your child will be able to look back at how his or her parents put their best interest before “traditions”.

Having a flexible holiday schedule in place as soon as possible will help you navigate the holidays with less stress and allow you to actually enjoy your new holiday traditions. Allow the Irvine Divorce Lawyers at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP to assist you in creating a parenting plan that is in your child’s best interest.