The holidays are often a major test for families with newly divorced parents. The custody details may have been worked out during the divorce with the help of an attorney, but seeing the schedule for the holidays on paper is different than working out the logistics and then executing them.
The goal is to make the transition a smooth one for the kids, but parents also need to adjust. Some only wish to get through the holidays without too many scheduling mix-ups. Some see the season as an emotionally charged time. Others thrive and enjoy holidays that had previously been extremely stressful because of the status of their joyless marriage.
Four thoughts for the parent to consider
Obviously, the children are the priority, but those parents who have been there offer insight on how to brighten up the holidays, such as:
- Remember that the schedule “is what it is”: New parenting agreements are a first step, which can be refined or changed over time. There also may be gaps of time where a parent can feel adrift, so it may be useful to make plans for filling those times. Also, it may be hard not to act sad when the kids go off to celebrate with the other parent, but do not underestimate the appeal of a “second” Thanksgiving or Christmas when you celebrate with the children on an alternate day.
- Start new traditions: Keep the traditions that work, but it is okay to start some new ones with the kids, such as “tree-decorating night” a week or two before the holiday. Many parents also find it enjoyable to embrace grown-up events with friends who do not have family or are similarly divorced.
- Time alone is okay: The days leading up to the holiday may be a whirlwind of activity, so sitting on the couch and relaxing may seem luxurious. Those who like to keep moving can tackle a big project, such as organizing and unpacking boxes or catching up on a favorite show.
- Remember that it gets easier: The first year of the new arrangement may be challenging, but most agree that the holidays get more comfortable as time passes.
Drafting the right parenting plan is key
The holidays are a time to be thankful for what one has and celebrating with loved ones. Agreeing upon a parenting plan that addresses the needs of the children and the parents is the ideal and achievable outcome. It starts by working with an experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, Tarrant County, Midland County, Ector County, or elsewhere throughout Texas. Such an attorney can be a tremendous asset in helping in drafting or enforcing an effective parenting agreement.