The holidays are usually such a joyous time of year for families. This year has been difficult for everyone, but the holidays can still be joyous. They might just look a little bit different for everyone, especially newly divided families that have gone through a divorce. Our attorneys from Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. have a few pointers to set yourself and your children up for a smooth holiday season.
For your holiday season planning this year, keep these two tips in mind:
- Start new traditions: As the ongoing pandemic is restricting travel and gatherings for many families, use 2020 as a year to get creative and start special new traditions for just you and your children to enjoy. Starting new traditions is a great way to adjust to a smaller group for the holidays this year, whether this is because of the pandemic or recent separation or divorce. Need ideas? Try making a brand-new dish as a family, get creative with an art project the whole family can participate in, go outside and bundle up by a bonfire, take a hike or walk, write letters to the family members not present, and more. The possibilities are endless!
- Stay positive: This year, it will be especially difficult to send children away to have parenting time with the other parent. Assure yourself and the children that you will be fine and are excited for them to spend time with the other parent whenever that might become possible. Say it with a smile and mean it. You can also start new traditions for yourself while the children away. Try some more advanced arts and crafts, make a recipe only you will enjoy, order takeout or delivery from a restaurant no one else in the family likes except you, video call your family and friends, etc. Whatever you do, take care of yourself.
Importance of Planning Ahead
We cannot emphasize the importance of planning ahead for holiday parenting time enough. Send your ex-spouse or your children’s other parent a polite email or text laying out what you believe the holiday schedule is going to be. If there are disagreements that you just cannot resolve between the two of you, an attorney can assist you in resolving these disagreements ahead of time. Mediation and heading to court are the two prominent legal avenues to settle the dispute. If disagreements are not resolved ahead of time, the holidays may be quite stressful as conflict occurs over how they are spent.
Here are some example parenting schedules and plans that work for many other separated couples:
- Option A: Early Thanksgiving brunch with parent 1 and late Thanksgiving dinner with parent 2. The children would be with parent 1 until noon or 1 pm and with parent 2 until 8 or 9 pm. Christmas Eve with parent 1 from noon on Christmas Eve until noon Christmas Day and Christmas Day with Parent 2 from noon until noon the day after Christmas. Flip the schedule around for the next year, and then alternate year-to-year.
- Option B: Thanksgiving break with parent 2 from Wednesday at 3:00 pm until Sunday at 3:00 pm. The first half of winter break with parent 1 from after school the last day before break until December 25th at 3:00 pm and the second half of winter break with parent 2. Flip the schedule around for the next year, and then alternate year-to-year, just like in option A.
- Option C: Change the exchange location to a food bank where the children can make a donation with both parents participating in this gift! This is a fantastic way to bring everyone together for a great cause that really highlights the spirit of the season.
For additional holiday parenting time solutions, contact our experienced and dedicated family law attorneys who are eager to help you and your family navigate the holidays smoothly this year. We have offices in Broomfield, Longmont, and Loveland, Colorado.