The holidays are times to celebrate with family, but if you are recently divorced or newly separated, this time of year can be extremely stressful. You are learning to navigate parenting from a new perspective, and at the same time, you are trying to provide your kids with stability and traditions. There are some tips you can use to help you get through this challenging time with your family.
Follow Your Parenting Plan
First and foremost, if you have a detailed parenting plan, make sure you follow it. The plan may provide you with information such as where the kids will spend certain days of their vacation. The plan may have the kids alternate between Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve between parents in different years. If the plan is not detailed, you will need to work out the particulars with your former spouse.
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There are so many different plans and activities that happen throughout the holiday season that it can become difficult to manage. Now more than ever, communication with the other parent is critical to a successful holiday. It can be helpful to create and share a calendar so that you both understand exactly when and where the kids will be at any day or time. This can become even more complex when there are children from more than one former spouse.
Even if you have a schedule, you need to be ready to make some changes at a moment’s notice. Sometimes, things change, especially when you have children of various ages. It is helpful to allow for some flexibility so you don’t get irritated or stressed out when plans change. When you are flexible, your former spouse is more likely to be adaptable, too. That can really help when a sudden change needs to happen.
Keep Things Fun for the Kids
The holiday season is all about the children. Whatever you do, make sure that you keep the mood light and fun for them. Avoid arguing with your former spouse, and if you have to discuss anything, do it away from the kids. The children are learning to adjust to new family dynamics, so you need to relieve any stress they may be feeling. You also want to ensure that they still feel safe and secure. Don’t make plans that are too complex or too strenuous for your children to handle. Ask kids for their input as to what they want to do, especially as they get older. Prepare kids by letting them know the general holiday plans ahead of time.
Remember the Extended Family
The holidays are a time for families. Keep in mind that the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other extended family members are looking forward to spending time with the children. Allow time for all of them, even if it means that they will spend a little bit of extra time with the other parent. They need the support and love from everyone right now.
Separation and divorce can make holidays more challenging. If you are preparing to separate or divorce, we can help you through the process. Contact us at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to schedule a free initial consultation.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes five Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options and then work to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
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