Divorce is always difficult. When the holidays approach, it can become even more difficult. This is especially true if you don’t plan for the fact that you will be going through a divorce during the holidays and you are trying to figure out what to do with the children. We all want the divorce to not affect the children, but since you are in the divorce process, it may not be possible for your children to do everything that they are accustomed to doing around the holidays. While this holiday season may be important, keep in mind that next year there may be a new schedule, so it is in everyone’s best interest to begin planning now.
As September is comes to a close, it is important to keep an eye on the upcoming holidays, including school fall break. Have you worked out how to divide this time during the holidays and school breaks? If you haven’t, it is important to put that on the top of your list and to attempt to resolve those issues prior to the start of the holidays and school breaks.
Courts really don’t like motions about holiday time that are filed the week before that holiday. They don’t have the time available to determine what is the best interest of the child. Proper planning can help you determine what is in the best interest of your child. The Court’s reasoning is that holidays come at the same time each year, if there is an issue, you should have anticipated it earlier. If you want to make sure that your holidays are taken care of, It is much better to address the issue now and avoid attempting to go to the Court at the last minute. If you are unable to agree, this will give you time to bring the issue before the Court.
The issue is addressing the holiday and break times with the person you are divorcing. The following are some tips to address that issue:
1. Talk. I know it sounds simple, but have a discussion with your spouse about establishing new holiday traditions now, rather than waiting until the divorce is final. Even if the response you receive is no, or I don’t want to, you attempted to resolve the issue prior to going to Court.
2. Understand that your holiday schedule that you have always followed probably won’t work anymore. His parents Christmas Eve, your parents Christmas afternoon, flip that on odd years. It is a lot to try to cram in to a holiday season. Also, remember we are talking about the children, not you or your family. Think outside the box as far as traditions go. Create your new traditions. Attempt to work through scheduling in a way that makes sense for the children first, then you and finally your family. I understand that Grandma is important, but it isn’t about her.
3. Confirm all plans or agreements in writing. If there is a dispute down the road, this document may prove invaluable and may resolve the issue quickly.
If you cannot reach an agreement, talk to your attorney, who will help you develop a game plan on how to address this issue. The Court’s goal will be to minimally disrupt the child’s life, so hopefully, your family’s past holiday traditions have provided good memories for the children. Rather than let the change influence your holidays, take this opportunity and plan ahead for a great holiday season for your family. If your spouse obstructs your efforts to plan, contact your attorney sooner rather than later so any problems can be addressed in a timely manner.