Whether you are recently divorced, have started a new relationship, or have remarried, Christmas can be a difficult of time to get through when you have to co-parent with your ex and decide who is going to get to see the kids over their holiday break from school.
You may have already experienced situations that turn your holiday cheer into Scrooge. For instance, your kids might have called, letting you know all the cool toys their dad got them, only to find out he got them the same things you did.
Your ex might call up and interrupt your Christmas Eve dinner after drinking just to berate you about how unfair you are being in regards to access and visitation. No matter your particular situation, when it comes to co-parenting and Christmas, there are several things you can do to ensure your family has a festive, stress-free holiday.
- Have a plan in place.
Your court-ordered visitation schedule may already contain specifics on who gets the kids for Christmas. Make sure to stick to this and not deviate from it. There are exceptions, so long as both you and your ex agree to the changes. For instance, this may be your year with the kids, but you and your ex agree to split the time so both parents can spend Christmas with the children.
No matter which parent has the kids for the Christmas holiday, even if you are not splitting visitation time, you should make sure to they have access to the other parent, via telephone or webchat so they can wish the other parent a merry Christmas.
- Remember Christmas is about your kids.
No matter how bitter your divorce was, or how shaky your current relationship with your ex is, both of you need to put your kids first. Some parents dislike changing family traditions, so they will behave civilly to celebrate together as a family. The key thing is to decide as parents, how to keep Christmas celebrations the most stable for your kids. You want to avoid putting too much pressure on them to make decisions that could potentially hurt the feelings of one of their parents.
- Start new family traditions.
Sometimes, certain traditions are things the kids will do with one parent after the divorce but not the other. To fill this void, create something new and exciting the kids can look forward to when they are celebrating Christmas with you, like hiding small presents in the braches of the tree.
Celebrating Christmas in a divorced family is never perfect. Just remember: if this is your first Christmas post-divorce, things can be difficult, but they do not have to be like this forever. Over time, you and your ex may become more amicable during the holiday season and will set aside any differences so your children can have a happy Christmas.
If you need advice about child custody, visitation and access, or other family law matters in Ottawa, including divorce, please feel free to contact Davies Law Firm at (613) 688-0462 to schedule a consultation today!