There is probably no better time of the year to be a child than December, and no more difficult time to be a divorced parent. Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Day may present scheduling challenges. Arguments over who gets to spend a holiday with the kids can quickly ruin the festivities for everyone.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The best way to stop a holiday headache is to prevent it from ever happening. This can be achieved by planning months in advance. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help avoid those arguments, and aid in making the best of a difficult time.
1. Agree to a Schedule Ahead of Time
If you are currently going through a divorce, you and your ex-spouse should make the holiday custody scheduling a part of your divorce settlement. If you are already divorced, you should try to make an agreement far in advance so that everyone knows and understands the plan. Too many parents try “playing it by ear,” which can lead to last-minute changes and needless stress. Instead of having a fun holiday, your children will remember that year’s holiday as that time when Mom and Dad fought over who got to be there when the presents were opened.
Let’s use Christmas as an example. You and your spouse could agree during the custody negotiation to spread Christmas over two days, or alternate who gets the children each year so that you both get a chance to have them on Christmas Day. It might even be the case that you and your spouse divorced on good terms and are capable of spending the day together with your children as a family. Whatever your plan is, make sure that you both stick to it and make it a routine so that your children’s lives can be full of joy during the holiday season.
2. The Kids Come First
As difficult as it might be, the best choice a divorced parent can make is to set aside whatever feelings they harbor for their ex-spouse so that their children can enjoy the holiday. You may even have to let your ex “win” the battle from time to time.
It is perfectly normal for you to feel angry or depressed over your divorce, and you may not be able to bottle up those emotions without eventually cracking at the worst possible moment. If that is your situation, you need a safety valve so that you do not have an emotional outburst in front of your children. If you have to vent your frustrations, wait until the children are not around and talk through your feelings with friends or family. Your children need to feel that they are loved; not that they are the center of a fight between the two people whom they love the most.
3. Avoid the Gift Giving Arms Race
It is not uncommon for divorced parents to get into a spending battle in an effort to buy the love of their children. The best way to avoid this is to agree with your spouse on a gift budget ahead of the holiday, and to split your children’s wish lists up ahead of time. Make your children understand that the biggest gifts came from both of you (or from Santa) so that the children do not feel that one parent loves them more than the other does.
Contact the Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich For More Holiday Tips
If you or a loved one has questions about their custodial rights during the holidays, contact one of our experienced family law attorneys as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have worked for over 30 years with parents who need advice and support in their custody cases, and we are committed to helping guide you through the process. Our attorneys are available to answer all of your questions.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is a Wallin & Klarich family law attorney experienced in child custody cases near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.