Our Allegheny County attorneys have counseled many of our divorce clients on how to handle the holidays after the parties are divorced and when they have children. Often this is a major concern after a couple has divorced, as both parents want to maintain a normal environment for the children, making sure that Christmas is still as "special" as it always was when Mommy and Daddy were together.
Consent Orders of Court for Custody are drafted with the holidays in mind, making sure to address both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as any other religious holidays the parties celebrate. In these Custody Orders, our attorneys are sure to include specific language detailing where the children will be for each day or each part of the holiday with the hope that the holiday will go as smoothly as possible for the children.
With the children's happiness as each parent's, and the family law attorneys, primary concern, read further for our tips on how to make the holidays a special time for the kids, even after divorce.
5 Tips for Making the Holidays a Special Time, Even after Divorce
1) Plan ahead. If you wait until last minute to make the specific arrangements with your ex-spouse, you create a recipe for a fight. If things are planned weeks in advance, then the children's holiday plans are set in stone and there are no ambiguities as to how they are getting from one place to another.
2) Discuss any gifts you would like to buy for the children with your ex-spouse. For both Christmas and Chanukah, gifts are involved. Be sure to speak to your ex-spouse before the holiday to make sure that there will be no gift duplicates. Discuss finances openly and keep a list of what your ex-spouse is buying for the kids and what you are going to buy. That way, each of your children will receive something from each parent, and will have something to look forward to when they are with you and your family, as well as your ex-spouse and his/her family.
3) Make sure the kids are aware that this Christmas will be different, but not any less special. Often kids are worried that after their parents are divorced, Christmas will not be the same. It is important to remind your children that although things might be different, they will still see each parent and will get to spend time with both families. If you explain this to your kids before the holidays, then they will know what is going to happen when the day comes.
4) Establish new traditions - see this as an opportunity! If this is the first holiday you are celebrating after a divorce, see this as an opportunity and not a negative! You now have a blank slate to create new holiday traditions with your children that may bring even more excitement to their holidays. Whether it is singing a new holiday tune, baking something together, or reading a special book, your kids may LOVE their new traditions and forget that Christmas is "different" this year.
5) Keep a positive attitude, even with your Ex. Although you may be tempted to bad mouth your ex or his/her family around the holidays, try to refrain from this. This will only make the holidays more stressful for the children. After all, who wants to be the Scrooge?