Holiday Planning Around the Kids
Nov. 1, 2022
Holiday season is sometimes difficult for divorced or divorcing parents, especially if there are kids involved. It’s hard to not have your children for a holiday, especially if you are used to always having them around.
It is also hard for the other parent when they don’t have the kids.
Conflict happens, even with two good parents. Of course, it’s worse if you are not on good terms with your ex.
So, what can you do to minimize the conflict? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Look at the schedule in advance. In Texas, the major holidays are split or awarded in alternating years. Before you get angry, check the court order and check the calendar to see what is actually scheduled. Don’t wait until the last minute to discover whether you have the kids.
2. Negotiate early, if you need to. If there is a conflict or potential conflict, it’s usually best to bring it up well in advance so there’s time for both parents to consider changes in the schedule.
3. Be accommodating when you can, without getting taken advantage of. If you ask a favor of your ex, be sure to offer something of value in return. If your ex asks a favor of you, grant the request if you can and if you can get some valuable time back. Standing firm and saying “The schedule is the schedule.” is not a winning strategy. Always try to keep in mind what’s best for the kids, more than for the other parent or for you.
Compromise is not weakness – it’s a good thing!
4. Thank your ex if they are nice to you. Build up some goodwill or credit for future transactions between the two of you.
5. Don’t look to the courts. Very often, there’s not time to file pleadings, get a hearing and get into court before a holiday. Plus, there’s the cost and time off work. It’s usually much better to try to work things out informally.
Bottom Line: Start early planning for holidays and special events. Keep in mind that kids are resilient and most can be happy having two Christmases, two Easters, two Thanksgivings, two birthdays, etc. If you have to change your schedule and celebrate on an off-holiday date, your kids probably won’t really mind. It’s just extra fun for them!