How divorced parents can enjoy the holiday season

With Thanksgiving now over, the holiday season is officially in overdrive. This means people all over Texas will be busy over the next three weeks hanging decorations, attending special gatherings/events, planning travel schedules and, of course, shopping for gifts.

While the holiday season can prove to be an emotionally and physically draining time for even the most festive people, it is especially so for divorced couples with kids.

This is because many divorced couples — regardless of whether they divorced years or months ago — are apt to experience a multitude of emotions during the holiday season ranging from excitement and happiness to sadness and anger. These emotions, in turn, can lead to enervating child custody disputes over such issues as who gets the kids over the holidays (unless established in the child custody/visitation agreement), or pick-up times and locations.

Luckily, divorced parents don’t have to view the holidays with an impending sense of dread, but rather can take steps to prevent arguments and, more importantly, ensure that their children enjoy the season.

Talk about your holiday arrangements as early as possible

Chances are that a child custody/visitation plan already outlines the details of how the kids will spend the holiday season. Nevertheless, experts indicate that it can never hurt to contact the other parent as soon as possible to coordinate dates, times, locations, contact information and other vital information. Doing so, they argue, can help alleviate stress, resolve potential disputes ahead of time, and save both time and money.

They also recommend verifying the holiday schedule with the kids as soon as possible, so that they know when and where they will be going, and aren’t hit with any surprises.

Be willing to compromise

One of the best parts of the holiday season is that family members who rarely see one another come together from across the country and sometimes even around the globe. Accordingly, experts advise that parents grant their children some time to see these out of town relatives, even if the relatives are not from their side of the family and they are scheduled to have the kids for the holidays.

This simple step, experts argue, can go a long way toward building strong family relationships all around.

Welcome change

If your children don’t get to spend the actual holiday with you, experts recommend taking extra steps to make sure that they don’t feel guilty. Specifically, show them that you are happy that they will be having fun and connecting with their mother or father.

In addition, experts advise divorced parents who won’t have the kids over the holidays to visit family or friends, or to devise their own special holiday plans.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child custody or visitation, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Washington Times, “Divorced families can still enjoy happy holidays with a little planning,” Myra Fleischer, Nov. 21, 2012