At the Men’s Divorce Law Firm, we understand going through a divorce or separation is a challenging and stressful time in anyone’s life, but it is particularly heart breaking when children are involved. The festive season can intensify feelings of stress, despair, hopelessness, loss, failure, and sadness. The holidays often emphasize how much your life after divorce has changed forever.
The Parenting Plan for the Holidays
The parenting plan often requires parents to alternate sharing the children on the major holidays, splitting the holidays evenly over the course of the year. Depending on what works best, holidays are alternated every year, or one parent can celebrate the same holiday each year. Some divorced parents choose to share the day so that each parent can have quality time with their children. This option may require some compromise with the transportation, planning, and coordinating between parents:
- If one parent is not able to celebrate on the exact day, they may choose the next day or the following weekend to celebrate.
- Custody agreements will determine what are the best options for all parties involved. Be sure to follow all custody orders and keep the peace with your former spouse.
- Instead of being sad over all the changes, show your children that change can be positive. Create new traditions for an enjoyable holiday that you can enjoy this year and for years to come.
Be Flexible and Realistic
Having an enjoyable holiday season is possible if you develop a plan that works for the entire family. Give time and thought into what you would like to happen and set your holiday season plan up well in advance. Have a positive attitude, especially when you are with the children, and remember that the festive season is for sharing with family and friends. Adding a large pinch of gratitude will help you stay more positive, caring and willing to accept your life as it is post-divorce. In turn, your grateful and positive attitude will reflect in the children and others around you and make it likely that you will have a happy holiday season.
Develop a Budget
Keep to a budget and have realistic expectations of yourself and of your family. Try to avoid being over materialistic in your gift giving to garnish favor with the children. Perhaps endeavor to experience more heartfelt activities that you might enjoy doing together with your children. For many children in divorce, they can feel pressure to please both parents all at once, making the holidays a time of stress and guilt for them. Things can easily be hectic for the children in the co-parenting schedule. Try to remember that it is what is best for the children, not what is best for you. Children can also feel guilty asking for presents, the latest electronics, or going away on a vacation like many of their friends might do. When money may be a concern, you don’t need to focus on what you cannot provide over the holidays. You can create those new memories and traditions together that may be more meaningful than the latest toy, or an expensive vacation. The children will most likely remember the special time you spent with them and how that made them feel happy and loved.
The Florida law is clear in that it is important for the children to have relationships with both parents. The courts require an explanation of which holidays and special occasions the child will spend with each parent. There are also rules for parent-child communication over the holidays. It is recommended that you set holiday time-sharing parameters to avoid confusion and conflict.
At the Men’s Divorce Law Firm, we can help construct a timesharing schedule and negotiate with your ex-spouse in the best interest of the children. The best solution to a time-sharing or custody dispute is to have a family law attorney represent you.
As a father, Attorney Jeffrey Feulner knows the importance of a child’s relationship with both of their parents. If you are a father that needs help with a time-sharing plan for the holidays, contact us at 321–DIVORCE (348–6723).