The holidays can be a difficult time for divorced parents, especially if the divorce or separation is still fresh. If you and your former spouse are co-parenting, then your children should have time to develop holiday traditions with each side of the family. Unfortunately, developing traditions can be a bit more complex when parents are no longer together, and as co-parents you’ll have to make a plan on how to share the holidays with your children so that your children get to spend time with their parents during the holidays. Here are some tips from Swickle & Associates on how former partners can split the holidays to optimize family happiness and harmony, and hopefully at least ease the transition. Remember- it’s not going to be easy, but if you have a plan in place and enact proper communication, you can minimize awkwardness and build a strong relationship with your children post-divorce.
Tips On Dividing Child Custody Time For The Holidays
While it’s always going to be difficult for children to have to split their time during the holidays, hopefully having a plan in place will minimize miscommunication. Below we have some tips for successfully dividing time during the holidays with your children and former spouse:
- Fixed holidays: A fixed schedule may work best if parents prioritize different holidays. For example, if one parent celebrates Hanukkah and the other one prefers Christmas, then the parent who celebrates Hanukkah may want to have the kids for that holiday while letting the kids celebrate Christmas with the other parent. You can come to an agreement with the other parent regarding the foreseeable future that the kids will always celebrate Christmas with one and Hanukkah with another. If the parents are of different religions, you can also decide that the kids can celebrate different religious holidays with the corresponding parent.
- Alternating holidays: One of the most common ways to divide holiday time is an alternating schedule that allows both parents to spend time with their child on alternating holidays. For instance, one parent may get the child for Christmas one year while the other one gets Thanksgiving, and then they can swap the following year so that the child gets to experience both holidays with both parents.
- Double Holidays: Some families may want to celebrate a holiday twice. The parents can choose to simply follow the established custody schedule and simply celebrate the holiday whenever the child is in their custody, or choose a day for a second holiday and alternate the years they celebrate.
- Split holidays: If the parents reside reasonably close to each other, they may want to split the holiday. The child could be with one parent for the first half of the day, and go to the other parent for the second half. For holidays that span multiple days this can work best; one parent could get their child on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas Day, or one parent could have the child for the first half of Hanukkah and the other parent for the last 4 days.
- Mother’s And Father’s Day: While this should be easy for opposite-sex parents, same-sex parents may have an issue for which day they get to spend with their kid. You can choose a “Parent’s day” on the official Mother’s or Father’s Day and stick with it.
- Birthdays: If you get along with your ex-spouse well, you can share your child’s birthday celebration. However, if you don’t get along or live too far from the other parent, you may want to alternate or keep a schedule.
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