Holiday Parenting Schedules for Divorced Parents
There are nearly 4 million divorced parents in the United States today. For many of these parents, the holidays can be especially difficult to navigate because they have family visiting from out of town who want to see the children or who brought presents for them. How is a divorced parent supposed to please everyone during the holidays and still stay sane? The short answer is that it is impossible to please everyone when you are sharing parenting responsibilities with an ex-spouse. But with some planning and flexibility, it is possible to have a happy holiday season as a divorced parent.
As the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is especially true when it comes to issues of parental responsibilities and parenting time. If you already have a parenting agreement in place, sit down with a calendar and note how your regular parenting schedule aligns with the holidays. In some formal Parental Responsibility Agreements, holidays are treated like regular days and sometimes, they have their own schedule and rules. Once you know who will have the children and when, you can start to figure out how to arrange the holiday activities or family visits. Do not wait until the last minute to make plans.
If you and your spouse are not formally divorced yet or have decided on your own holiday parenting schedule, know that there is no perfect way to share the children. Some divorced parents do an every-other-year Christmas schedule. So, for example, one year the father will have the children for Christmas and the next year the mother will have the children. For other families, it makes more sense for one parent to have the children Christmas Eve and the other parent to have the children Christmas Day. Other parents choose to get creative and make their own special Christmas celebration on a day other than December 25. Most children do not mind if Christmas does not happen on the “correct” day; they are just excited that it is Christmas!
What happens if your child’s other parent has an unexpected incident and they want to modify the parenting schedule because of it? For example, a father may have relatives come in from out of town unexpectedly and wants his children to spend time with them even though the children’s mother has scheduled parenting time on those days. In situations like this, the parent has a choice. He or she can insist that everyone sticks to the plan, or the parent can choose to be flexible. Oftentimes, being willing to do your children’s other parent a favor will result in them being willing to accommodate you when you need it in the future.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you are a parent who is planning to divorce your spouse, you need legal advice you can trust. Contact a skilled DuPage County divorce lawyer to get the help you need today. Call MKFM Law at 630-665-7300 to schedule a confidential consultation.