September 30, 2023
The holiday stress seems to start earlier every year, but it is arguably the worst during the first few years after a divorce. Your ex-spouse is never more efficient at pushing your buttons than during times of the year that are supposed to be joyous. Remember that, in a few years, your children will be grown up, and it will be their choice whether to spend the holidays with you, your ex, or people outside your immediate family. Setting boundaries and abiding by them can make the holidays less stressful after divorce. A Chicago parenting time attorney can help you resolve holiday co-parenting disputes with your ex-spouse.
The holiday provisions of a parenting plan are often some of the most difficult parts to work out. Each family divides holiday co-parenting in its own way. For example, you might decide that, in odd-numbered years, your children will spend Thanksgiving with Mom and Christmas with Dad, but in even-numbered years, they will spend Thanksgiving with Dad and Christmas with Mom. You might also decide to divide holiday breaks where the children spend the first half of the break with one parent and the other half with the other. If the children must go from your house to your ex’s at 2:00 on Black Friday every year, it effectively means that you will not be traveling for Thanksgiving for the foreseeable future.
Which arrangement works best varies from one family to another, but once you have agreed to a parenting plan, you must abide by it. Your ex cannot decide at the last minute to drop the kids off at 9:00 on Black Friday instead of 2:00 because the ice skating rink at the mall opened this year for the first time since COVID, and the kids really want to go to the Cheesesteak Factory after ice skating.
Holiday gift exchanges can be a tense subject after divorce, especially since, despite your best efforts at emotional maturity, co-parenting often feels like you are competing with your ex-spouse for your children’s affection. Here are some tips for avoiding holiday gift drama:
The loneliness of being single on the holidays has nothing on the loneliness of being divorced on the holidays. Adult holiday festivities can be fun, though. It is at least as much fun to spend December 26 drunkenly singing karaoke with your friends as it is to listen to your kids fighting over Christmas presents.
A Chicago family law attorney can help you get through the holidays without major conflict with your ex-spouse. Contact Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss your case.