Regardless of how amicable your separation is, divorce can be hard on children and parents. Many changes happen in a short period, including moving, possibly changing schools, and adjusting to having two homes instead of one. Although divorce is better for children than living in a house with two fighting parents, they may struggle to adjust to their new reality.
If you’re recently divorced or separated, you may want to work with your family lawyer to determine whether you and your ex should spend the holidays together. Lyons & Associates, P.C., have extensive experience helping families through divorce and navigating custody and child support.
Should Divorced Parents Spend Holidays Together? Recovering from Holidays After Divorce
There is no one right answer to how to celebrate the holidays. Some families travel thousands of miles to celebrate together every year, while others form new traditions after moving away. However, if you have young children, spending the holidays together in the first year or two after your divorce can help them enjoy some normalcy. This isn’t the correct choice for every family, and you’ll need to decide the best choice of action based on how you and your ex interact and any court-ordered custody regulations.
Especially in the first holidays after the divorce, your children will benefit from you spending this special time of the year together. You don’t need to spend the entire day together, and you shouldn’t pretend to still be a couple, but continuing some traditions, like opening presents together in the morning, could help your children to slowly adapt to a new way of life.
However, if your divorce was acrimonious, or there was abuse, you should celebrate the holidays separately. Your children will not benefit from hearing their parents fight. Some divorce decrees include language about holiday custody, or you may have already created a parenting plan with your legal team. If you want to change this, you’ll need to speak with your lawyer several months ahead of time.
Holidays With Divorced Parents
It may not be practical, or even beneficial, to celebrate every holiday with both parents. There are several paths you can take that ensure your children have a happy, wondrous holiday season.
You could choose to evenly split the hours on the holiday in question. This option works well for divorced parents who live close together and have no travel plans. Other families opt to split the days. For those who celebrate Christmas, one parent may have the children on Christmas Eve, and the other picks them up for Christmas Day.
If you live further apart or wish to travel to celebrate with grandparents, you may want to alternate years and holidays. For example, one parent may have the children for Christmas, while the other has them on Thanksgiving. Then, the next year the holidays would switch.
Work with an Experienced Family Lawyer
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the holidays, it’s important that you work with a trusted family lawyer to ensure everything is done in accordance with your divorce decree and any court orders.
At Lyons & Associates, P.C., we can help you create the best holiday plan for your children, whether that means following existing custody decrees or helping you and your ex-spouse to come to an agreement. Contact us online or call us at (908) 575-9777 to set up an appointment.