If you will be in the process of getting a divorce or separated by the time the holidays come around, you will surely want to do everything you can to keep things as stable and positive as possible for your children.
Trying to find a reasonable and fair way to split parenting time during the holidays can help you and your ex avoid the acrimonious fighting over parenting time so often associated with a divorce. Your parenting plan can include all kinds of rules for shared parenting authority and time.
However, you may each have your own idea about what is fair and appropriate. Depending on your current situation, there may be a number of ways that you can divide parenting time with your ex to ensure that everyone has time together this holiday season.
Can the two of you cope with sharing your parenting time on holidays?
One of the more stressful aspects of divorce for children is how they have to go back and forth between households, often celebrating two of every birthday and holiday. While at first it may seem exhilarating, in time, doubling up on every special day can become exhausting.
If you can agree to share those important days, it may be easier for everyone in your household. Particularly if one of you is staying in the family home with the children, the other parent can agree to come by and enjoy a meal, a gift exchange or any of the other holiday traditions you treasure as a family.
Sharing holidays can give the children a sense of normalcy thanks to having both of their parents present. Sharing that time together could help you and your ex start building a positive co-parenting relationship as you start creating new memories together as a different family unit after the divorce.
Alternating or splitting holidays can also work for some families
While sharing the holidays is a great idea for some families, for others it may just end in angry fighting. If you don’t think that you and your ex can enjoy the holiday without some kind of unpleasantness or confrontation, then it only makes sense that you would want to split or alternate the holidays.
Many divorcing families choose alternating holiday schedules as the simplest solution for keeping things fair. Every other holiday, one parent has custody. One parent may see the children for Thanksgiving and New Year’s, while the other will get Halloween and Christmas. The next year, who gets which holiday changes.
For some people, however, the thought of missing out on half of the holidays each year is painful. In that scenario, you may arrange to split the holidays, possibly by having one parent take the kids the day before or by doing a custody exchange in the mid-afternoon on the day of the holiday.
The exact solutions that will work for your family vary depending on the holidays you celebrate and the relationships you have. You should keep an open mind about how to approach these important days after the divorce. In some cases, what you originally agreed on may not work for your family, making it necessary for you to modify the parenting plan and custody order.