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Kane County parenting time attorneyAccording to recent estimates, there are almost 4 million divorced parents in the U.S. today. For such parents, the winter holiday season can be particularly tough to manage, as extended family members often travel great distances to celebrate and to see the children. While far fewer families are likely to travel this year compared to previous years, the holidays are still likely to be challenging for parents who share parental responsibilities.

The first thing you should keep in mind is that, no matter what you do, you will not be able to please everyone. Someone along the way is likely to feel at least a little slighted or disappointed about how your arrangements play out. However, with a little planning and a commitment to being flexible, you can enjoy a happy holiday as a divorced parent.

Take Proactive Steps

Planning ahead is key in making holiday parenting time arrangements. If you and your former partner have a parenting plan in place that specifies where your child will spend which holidays, it is important to be aware of what your plan says for this year. If you are not sure, review your plan and be certain. Your parenting agreement might give you the freedom to set up holiday plans each year by discussing them with your child’s other parent. Once you have established who will have parenting time and when, you can begin planning your holiday visits and other activities. This includes video visits and other arrangements made necessary by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Posted on in Child Custody

Give Teens a Say in Post-Divorce Holiday PlansTeenagers can react differently to their first holiday season after a divorce than a younger child will. Younger children are more open about feeling sad or upset, while teenagers may try to suppress their emotions so as not to create turmoil. As a result, they may seem disinterested and unenthusiastic about the holidays but are actually upset and possibly angry. You need to approach your teenager differently than you would a young child when deciding on how to handle parenting time during the holidays.

Making Decisions

Teenagers generally seek more independence as they near adulthood. A divorce forces a change upon them, taking away their ability to control their family lives. They may feel like they cannot decide how and with whom they will celebrate the holidays. You can give them a sense of control by talking to them before deciding:

  • Which holiday traditions you will continue;
  • Whether you will create new holiday traditions; and
  • Who they will get to see on a specific holiday, such as Christmas.

You should consider their requests but set boundaries for what is reasonable. For instance, what your teen may want the most is for you to celebrate Christmas together with your former spouse as if you are still married. You understand how difficult this would be for both of you and how the tension could lead to a confrontation. If your teen wants to see both of you that day, you can come up with other solutions that involve you or your teen traveling.

Posted on in Children

Celebrating Halloween as a Divorced ParentHalloween is a holiday that is full of precious memories for parents and children. If you are divorced or separated from your co-parent, you may be missing out on watching your children trick-or-treat or enjoy other Halloween festivities. Divorced parents carefully divide their time with the children during the winter holiday season, but you may not have thought about Halloween when creating your parenting plan. There are still ways that both divorced parents can share Halloween with their children

Trick-or-Treating

Both of you can accompany your children for trick-or-treating if you and your co-parent can be cordial with each other for a couple of hours. Focusing on your children may distract you from falling into your typical arguments. If you cannot stand being around your co-parent for even that long, you could plan to switch as chaperones to the children midway through the trick-or-treating. You could also take your children to trick-or-treat in your neighborhood if you live close by. However, they will feel most comfortable trick-or-treating in their own neighborhood with their friends.

Maintaining Roles

One parent may have traditionally taken the lead on certain Halloween activities while you were married. Maybe one of you is better at carving jack-o-lanterns or putting together costumes for your children. Keeping up these traditions after divorce will make Halloween more enjoyable for yourself and your children.

Children Take Priority for Divorced Families During HolidaysThanksgiving is next week, along with the official start of the holiday season. For parents and children of divorce, the season can be a time of hectic schedules and mixed emotions. In most cases, each parent will want to have individual time with the children to celebrate. However, it will be difficult for either parent to have the same holiday experience that they did when the family was whole. While this may be depressing, parents should focus on providing a good holiday experience for their children. In order to do so, they must be flexible in both their scheduling and expectations for the holidays.

Holiday Parenting Time

Parents with foresight will consider holidays when creating their parenting schedule during the divorce. There are several ways parents can split their time with their children during the holidays, including:

Celebrating Your First Post-Divorce Father's DayJune 18 marks the annual celebration of Father’s Day in the U.S. While it is usually a time for fathers and their children to bond, a newly divorced father may experience the holiday differently. Depending on the parenting time arrangement, his children may be unavailable to visit him that day. If he does get to spend the day with them, he may not know how to celebrate. Past Father’s Day traditions may have relied on the mother’s involvement. Divorced fathers need to take an active role in creating a positive Father’s Day experience for them and their children.

Save the Date

You should talk to your former wife about your desire to spend Father’s Day with your children, especially if it would require altering your parenting time schedule. Parenting time agreements are legally binding, but parents can make minor adjustments without needing court approval. Hopefully, your former wife will appreciate the day’s importance to you and your children. However, you can also help with scheduling by being flexible:

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