Holidays can be a fantastic time for families. They are a season filled with family traditions and a time to enjoy each other. However, for divorced couples who are sharing custody and trying to figure out how to manage holidays and social celebrations, this joyful time can be filled with stress, anxiety, and a lot of tension. That is why, for those families trying to navigate divorce and custody time, our team at the Ellender Law Firm has come up with the following suggestions to help you get through the holiday season.

1. Make Sure to Discuss What Matters Most

Some divorced couples find that discussing what is most important to them helps with their negotiations about schedules and parenting time. You may discover that what matters most to you, like Christmas morning, may not be as big of a deal to your ex-spouse, which can make splitting up time more manageable. In addition, take into account family gatherings. Do certain holidays or yearly events bring the family together? This can help to ensure that your children get to see their extended family at various family gatherings and to make sure they do not miss out on any favorite family traditions.

2. Get Creative and Set New Traditions

Planning your parenting time in advance can be extremely helpful in assisting you with coming up with any new holiday traditions you want to start implementing throughout the year. Even if you do not have the kids during Mardi Gras or Thanksgiving, it does not mean you cannot plan some fun activities for the weeks leading up to those holidays or some fun gatherings after. Your children will have a blast setting new traditions with you, even if they are not on the exact date that you wanted.

3. Alternate and Be Open to Compromise

When it comes to setting a child custody schedule, one of the most important approaches you can adapt is going in with the expectation that you will probably not get everything that you want. That is why having early discussions about what matters most and coming up with compromises can be a winning solution for both parents. Consider the following options:

  • Alternating Holidays or School Vacations: Rotating custody during holidays or school vacations every year will ensure that each parent won’t miss the holiday or vacation for more than one year in a row.
  • Splitting the Holidays in Half: Breaking up the day in half can get both parents to spend part of the day with the kids.
  • Assign Fixed Holidays: If each parent has a different holiday that is a “must” for them, and the other parent agrees, they can arrange to celebrate that holiday or day with their kids every year and take the stress out of some of the planning.

4. If You Can, Invite The Ex

If you and your spouse have a decent relationship, or you are trying to create a better one, inviting them to join in certain celebrations can be a significant first step. This does not mean asking them on your yearly beach vacation; instead, you can start small by inviting them to celebrate your children’s birthdays together. As long as everyone is on the same page about the intentions of inviting each other, especially having the kids understand that you are not getting back together, it can be an excellent opportunity for the whole family to share in some yearly traditions.

5. Take Time for Yourself

Splitting custody can be hard for any parent — especially during the holidays. Make sure to go easy on yourself and take this alone time to do something that you enjoy. Taking care of yourself and recharging will not only benefit you, but your whole family as well.

If you are facing a divorce and need some help with custody schedules, make sure you contact an experienced family law attorney. They can ensure that you and your kids are taken care of, while helping you through the confusing legal process.