It’s that time of year when the heartstrings get tugged, especially in the wake of a divorce. If you’re newly split and this whole sharing-the-kids thing is raw, you can be particularly pained at Christmastime. Family traditions won’t be the same, everything feels different, you won’t see your kids as much or when you want to. Here’s how to make the most of your holiday parenting time.
Ways to Tackle Parenting Time at Christmas
There are different ways to work out parenting time at the holidays. If you’re in the middle of negotiating your Michigan divorce right now, think through each arrangement carefully and consider the pros and cons of what you are willing to agree to permanently.
- Alternate holidays: Kids spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with one parent one year and the other parent the following year. It can be difficult to imagine not seeing your child at all on these two days, so think carefully about your willingness to give up parenting time in this manner.
- Divide the holiday: One parent gets the child on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. The other parent gets the child the rest of Christmas Day. Though one of you misses out on the excitement of opening gifts in the morning, you both get to see your child for part of Christmas Day.
- Create a new holiday: Some parents are happy to bump Christmas a few days so they can both have special moments with their child. This can work with the littlest children who may not have grasped the whole Santa concept yet, as well as with the older kids. The children who are somewhere in the middle and wholeheartedly believe in Santa and all the trimmings may be less agreeable to a pseudo Christmas.
- Fixed holiday: One parent, perhaps the custodial parent, always gets the child on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. The other parent always gets Christmas Day starting at a prearranged time. This arrangement lets kids know what to expect every year, but it can be tough for the parent who’s missing out on the joy of Christmas morning.
- The together holiday: Some exes part amicably and, for the sake of their kids, agree to spend a holiday together, whether that means sleeping under the same roof for one night, arranging to show up super-early in the morning to take part in the delightful chaos, or joining later in the day for a full family meal and celebration.
Considerations for Holiday Parenting Time
At a time like Christmas, it’s important to think about how your parenting time arrangement will affect the kids, not just yourself. Will they want to leave where they are only hours after opening gifts on Christmas morning? Will they want to have Christmas Eve in one house only to shift to another house in preparation for Christmas Day?
It’s important to do your best to work out a favorable parenting time plan so you get exactly what you want. If you have difficulty agreeing, the court will decide for you, and that may result in a situation that doesn’t please you at all.
Are you truly unhappy with your holiday visitation plan? Schedule an appointment with an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer at Femminineo Attorneys PLLC in Mount Clemens to discuss whether it’s possible to change your divorce settlement for the next big holiday.