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Divorce and Surviving the Holidays with Children

Getting through the holiday season can be difficult for people who are going through a divorce or separation. It can be especially hard on minor children too, because the family traditions they have come to enjoy are no longer going to be possible now that their parents are divorced.

But that does not mean you and your children cannot have still have an enjoyable festive time. It just means the family dynamic has changed from what it was in the past. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is focusing on what is best for them, which is not necessarily best for their children.

This is not fair for the children. It can result in them becoming anxious, stressed, and moody. Instead, when making plans, including visitation schedules, parents should take the time to ask whether what is being proposed is really in the best interests of the children. It is very likely both parents will need to be somewhat flexible and willing to make scheduling adjustments.

For instance, deciding which parent the children will be with on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day can lead to big arguments between separated and divorced couples. Depending upon how far apart the parents live from each other, it could be possible one parent will not be with their children on those days.

But that does not mean you still cannot celebrate the holiday with your children. Many divorced parents come up with their own special holiday celebrations and new traditions to address visitation schedules. For instance, the parents might agree the children do not have be dropped off until later in the evening on Christmas Eve, thus allowing for plenty of time to have dinner and open presents before taking the children to the other parent’s home. Work on developing the idea of having two Christmas celebrations.

An arrangement could be worked out that if the children spend most of Christmas Eve with one parent, then the other parent could have them in the late afternoon on Christmas Day and all day on Boxing Day. Regardless of what is worked out, parents have to be realistic and do not try to make unreasonable demands that might put pressure on the children.

Another mistake parents tend to make is not listening to the wishes of their children. Depending upon the age of the minor children, the parents might want to ask where they want to spend their time, without trying to make them feel pressured or guilty.  Once the parents find out what they want, then sit down and work out a schedule that works best for everyone.

If you only have your children for a short period of time over the holidays, avoid trying to schedule too many activities and events. Again, ask your children what they want to do. They might just want to curl up with their parent by the fire and watch a movie or play a board game. For them, this could be all they desire for the perfect holiday- to spend time with you.

For legal advice and assistance with separation, divorce, child custody and visitation, and other family law matters, do not hesitate to contact our Ottawa family lawyers at Davies Law Firm at 613-688-0462 today!

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