Christmas may be an especially challenging time for families who are working through divorce. Even if your divorce has been finalized for years, Christmas may still present your family with challenges. Oftentimes disagreements arise regarding which presents each parent will give, and what the schedule will look like, Even Christmas traditions can become contentious. In order to keep the magic in Christmas, parents will need to co-parent effectively. This means cooperating with each other and staying committed to making the holidays special for the children.
Get on the Same Page about Gifts
It may be a good idea to discuss what each parent is getting the child before you do your Christmas shopping. However, it’s important to remember that now is not the time to “one-up” your ex with a better gift. It’s also not the time to purchase a gift that your ex isn’t comfortable with your child having. If you have more disposable income than your ex, you may be able to purchase more presents for your child. However, for your child’s sake, you may want to refrain from doing this. Depending on how this is done, it may be considered to be a form of parental alienation. This can damage your child’s relationship with your ex, but it can also damage your child’s relationship with you.
Communication Is Key
If you’re looking to prevent contention this holiday season, having a clear and open line of communication with your ex is key. Make sure that you’re both on the same page about which days your child will spend with which parents. It’s also a good idea to ensure that drop off and pick up times and locations are discussed and agreed upon ahead of time. If you’re running a little bit late, make sure that you communicate this to your ex as soon as you realize that you’re going to be late. This is especially important if you’re running late to drop off the children to your ex’s house.
Take Care of Yourself
Maybe this is your first Christmas after the divorce. Or, you’re going through the divorce process this Christmas. If you’re finding it difficult to stay patient during the divorce process, it may be a good idea to see if you can squeeze a little time in for self-care. Self-care doesn’t have to be a big commitment that you do for an entire day. What you’re able to do for yourself will depend on your circumstances. Maybe you’re able to spend a whole day recharging. Or, perhaps, you only have time for a few hours of mental relaxation. When you’re feeling frustrated, or you’re feeling as if you can no longer handle the pressure, it may be a good idea to take some time and recharge before you blow up at someone.
The holidays are a crazy time for almost every person. Your ex may be just as stressed out as you are. You don’t need to become a doormat just because it’s the holiday season. But if they’re requesting reasonable accommodations, being flexible with them may go a long way. For example, if your ex is asking you to drop the children off a few hours late on Christmas Eve, you may agree to do so, provided you’re able to pick them up a few hours early on Christmas Day. If your ex is running late, try your very best to be understanding, especially if they’ve communicated this with you in advance and have sincerely apologized.
Remember that It’s for the Children
Christmas is supposed to be a magical time for children. Though they may be small, children are perceptive and can sometimes tell when there’s tension between their parents. For many children, this is a source of stress and guilt. Though you can’t necessarily control your ex’s behaviors, you can control your own behavior. You can’t guarantee that your children will have a drama-free Christmas because you can’t control your spouse’s actions. However, you can help the situation by remaining calm and respectful at all times, even when your ex is not being calm or respectful. It only takes one person to make a divorce high-conflict. But having both parties escalating the situation can really bring the conflict to the next level. And this isn’t fair for the children.
When You’re Considering Filing for Divorce
If you’re considering filing for divorce, CoilLaw is here for you. Our attorneys are committed to fighting for your rights and helping you protect your family. If you’re considering filing for divorce, contact CoilLaw today to find out how we can help you.