One of the more challenging aspects to deal with following a divorce is the first time the holidays come around. You may have grown accustomed to celebrating between you and your spouse’s families and now feel awkward envisioning the prospect of having to attend one family celebration all alone.
The situation may be even worse if you have kids (and particularly younger ones). How do you continue celebrating holidays with a custody schedule in place? Here are some options:
Alternate spending an entire holiday with your child
Some families’ holiday celebrations may last all day. This may be particularly the case if the grandparents have long been divorced and the tradition has long been to visit one home first and the other later that same day.
If this is a way that describes how things have typically worked in your family, then you and your co-parent may opt to craft a parenting plan that involves the trading off of when you have your kids. One of you, for example, might take Halloween and Christmas one year while the other takes Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. You may flip-flop those the following year.
Partial or shared custody on the same day
You and your co-parent may both be unable to imagine spending time apart from your child on a holiday or their birthday. If that’s how you feel, then you may want to discuss plans for splitting that day with them. For example, one of you might take your child that night before and morning the next day while the other does so in the afternoon and evening of that same one.
Putting your differences aside and celebrating together
A third option that won’t likely work for most families but might for yours is to set your differences aside in exchange for doing what’s in your child’s best interest. This might involve you and your co-parent committing to having a joint birthday celebration for them or coming together to take them trick-or-treating.
It’s unlikely that any of the above situations is ideal, but as a parent, you have to choose based on the options you have. You and your co-parent may want to document any agreed-to parenting plan in writing to ensure that you don’t unnecessarily create legal problems for yourself over your holiday plans.