As holidays go, Thanksgiving is a big one. It is a one-day feast of togetherness and thankfulness that kicks off the holiday season, and it’s natural for you to want your kids to be with you on this special day. Unfortunately, when you’re divorced and doing parenting time properly, which parent gets the kids on the fourth Thursday in November will vary from year to year.
Michigan Parenting Time Guidelines
In a Michigan divorce, all holiday and break parenting time takes precedence over the regular parenting time schedule. If it’s one parent’s Thursday with the kids but it’s the other parent’s turn for Thanksgiving with them, Thanksgiving wins.
According to Michigan divorce parenting time guidelines, the father gets the children in even-numbered years on Thanksgiving and the mother in odd-numbered years. You may question whether this time with one parent is for the one-day annual holiday or for the entire holiday break. If you’re following Michigan rules, it’s the latter. If you want to negotiate a different set-up, this is something to discuss with your Michigan family law attorney as you’re working on your divorce settlement.
Possible Parenting Time Scenarios for Thanksgiving
A divorce settlement is carefully worked out and is expected to be followed to the letter to ensure that everyone gets what they agreed on, what they want, and what’s best for the kids. Some parents come up with creative ways to spend time with their kids on Thanksgiving.
- Celebrate together: If you and your ex split amicably and you are more interested in being all together on holidays rather than forcing your kids to be in different places, you can make it work. Even though you’re no longer a couple, it might feel better to be a family unit for the sake of the kids. Some couples can celebrate together without a fight.
- Split the day: Thanksgiving is all about overindulgence. So maybe one parent has the kids for brunch and the other has them for the big turkey dinner later in the day. There are plenty of ways to be creative so everyone gets fed, sees their family, and the kids don’t feel too shuffled around.
- Have two Thanksgivings: Plenty of divorced people choose to simply move Thanksgiving to a different day of the week so they can celebrate with their kids. If one parent gets them the day-of, you may agree that the other parent gets the kids the following day.
Getting the Parenting Time You Want
Sadly, a side effect of divorce is not always having your children with you – and that includes on holidays. Those first few Thanksgivings after your divorce can be heartbreaking when your kids are with your ex and not you. It can be even more difficult to manage the separation when you know your children are with the former in-laws, or your ex’s new partner who you may or may not like, or taking part in the traditions they’re sharing without you.
Parenting time on the holidays is a push-pull of emotions. If you can remember that the parenting plan you and your ex developed during your Michigan divorce was done for the good of your kids, it can help ease the sting of being without your kids.
Questions about navigating the parenting time portion of your divorce settlement? Contact Michigan Divorce Help to schedule your free initial consultation.