by Attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist Myra Chack Fleischer

Don’t let your divorce spoil the holidays for you and your kids. With a bit of planning ahead and flexibility you can make the most of the season, no matter how different it looks this year.

Know Your Court Order

Make sure you’re familiar with the specific dates and times your children are with you and when they’re supposed to be with their other parent. Keep in mind holiday visitation might override your regular custody schedule.

Plan in Advance

It’s never too early to talk to your child’s other parent about holiday plans. You can send a friendly confirmation to make sure you’re on the same page, and if you find you’re not, you’ll still have plenty of time to resolve the issue with or without attorneys before the dates in question.

Get the Kids Involved

Empower your kids by posting the holiday schedule somewhere accessible in your home. This will help ease transitions and ensure that the only surprises they’re getting are the ones from Santa.

Be Flexible

If there’s one piece of advice for divorced parents it’s to be flexible. Try to be accommodating for things like visits from out-of-town family even if it disrupts your custody schedule. Encouraging your child’s relationship with their family is always in their best interest.

Stay Positive

The best way to make sure your kids will enjoy the holidays is by staying positive yourself. Don’t make your kids take sides and don’t make them feel guilty for enjoying time with their other parent’s family.

Create New Traditions

It’s normal to feel sadness about family activities that remind you of a time before your divorce. Instead of trying to hold on to those old traditions, get excited about creating new ones with your kids. Just remember to keep the changes gradual so your kids don’t get overwhelmed.

Consider Doing it Together

If your divorce is fresh, sitting down with your ex and his or her family at the dinner table might be beyond your capacity right now. But once the wounds start to heal you may be surprised to find that you and your ex are able to put aside your differences to give your children the most meaningful holiday possible.  

Putting in a little thought and planning now to avoid calling a family law attorney to handle last minute emergencies during the holidays can save you a lot of time and heartache. You don’t need the distraction or the expense at an already busy time of year. This is supposed to be a special time for everyone, most of all for your children. Stay safe and happy holidays.