Divorce and The Holidays: Plan Ahead Now

It is that time of year again and the holidays are quickly approaching. While it may have been difficult to negotiate family traditions when you and your spouse were happily married, it is going to be even more difficult when you are going through a divorce. If you are going through a divorce over the holidays, now is the time to start planning ahead. Your children will appreciate knowing exactly where they are going, who they are going with and for how long. Listed below are some tips on how to broach the subject with your spouse as well as some steps to take if negotiations break down.

  • Have a honest discussion with your spouse about how each you would like to share parenting time over the upcoming holidays. A simple statement that the holidays are coming up and that you want to make sure everyone has time with the children is a good way to break the ice. Even if your relationship with your spouse is acrimonious, it is important that you take this step. Even if your spouse's response is no or makes unreasonable requests, your effort at working through this amicably will only aid your divorce case later on.
  • Consider your family at large. You should check with relatives to see who is going to be in town and when. Children will want to see grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. However, your extended family also needs to understand the situation. If Grandma and Grandpa can't be civil during this difficult time, then perhaps their time needs to be limited. Set the agenda and tone early.
  • Create new traditions. Your family dynamics are going to change after divorce and therefore, some of your prior traditions may no longer work for your family. Now is the time to sit down with your children and discuss which traditions are most important to them. You can also use this as an opportunity to create new lasting traditions that bring joy to you and your children.
  • Have a written agreement.  If you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement, confirm that agreement in writing. If there is a dispute down the wrote, a written agreement can prove invaluable in a court proceeding.

It is important to note that courts generally frown on "emergency" motions to set holiday parenting schedules just days before the holiday period begins. The holidays come around the same time every year. You and your divorce attorney should anticipate and plan for potential conflicts early on.  However, sometimes there are circumstances where there truly is an emergency that needs to be addressed. There may be an unexpected family event or your spouse has decided to violate your written agreement. In such cases, it may be necessary to seek court intervention. If anticipate conflict with your spouse during the holidays, you should contact a divorce attorney sooner rather than later. For more information about divorce and the holidays, contact The Yeatts Law Firm today.