If you have recently separated or have started the process of planning to divorce, you may need to embrace the reality that the upcoming holiday season is probably going to be difficult for everyone in the family.
The sooner you address the holidays and the stresses that they can cause for parents sharing custody, the easier it will be to make the most of the holiday season. There are multiple ways for your family to address the holidays during both temporary custody arrangements in the middle of a divorce and more permanent parenting plans created at the end of the divorce.
For some families, alternating holidays is the easiest solution
There are certain holidays that both parents may want to spend with the children. There may be others that only matter to one parent. If the parents are from different religious or cultural backgrounds, splitting up the holidays may be as easy as allowing each parent to celebrate their own traditional holidays with the children.
If there is an overlap in the desired holidays and special events celebrated by the family, then the parents can agree to an alternating schedule. In the first year of the schedule, one parent gets a certain half of the holidays and special events. The next year, they receive the other half, allowing them both to experience each of those special days with their children as fairly as possible.
Splitting special days in half can sometimes be an option
It doesn't take children 12 hours to open all of their birthday presents or Christmas gifts. It may be possible for your family to split the individual holiday in half, with the children spending the morning with one parent and the afternoon with the other.
Agreeing to cooperatively parent on special days is also an option
If you and your ex believe that you will get to a point soon enough where you can interact kindly and calmly, agreeing to share those special days could be the best solution. Kids typically want both of their parents present for big events, and agreeing to share can be the basis for growth in your co-parenting relationship.
Regardless of which approach your family takes, getting help drafting your parenting plan or arguing your case in court can make a big difference in how difficult divorce is for you and your kids.