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Co-Parenting After Divorce Can Mean Forming New Holiday Family Traditions

June 22, 2020

What is the best part of Christmas? If you answered, “the gift exchange on the morning of December 23rd,” then you must be sharing parenting time with your ex-spouse. Likewise, you might think that the best part of Thanksgiving weekend is making Advent calendars with your children on Sunday evening. Holidays tend to highlight all of people’s struggles, losses, and disappointments when it comes to family, but spending Christmas morning without your children for the first time since they were born, and knowing that they are opening presents with your ex-spouse and your ex-spouse’s new partner is a special kind of pain. There are two things divorced parents can do to make the holidays less painful. One is to make the most of the holiday time that your children aren’t with you, by spending time with your own relatives and friends. The other is to make the time you do spend with your children into the highlight of the holiday season. The family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh can help you develop a holiday parenting schedule that gives both parents ample opportunity to form lasting holiday memories with their children.

Christmas Comes but Once Every Two Years

Parenting plan forms in Pennsylvania ask parents to specify how they will divide parenting time on major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. If the parents both place a high premium on the same holiday, they can decide to exercise their parenting time on that holiday in alternating years. For example, maybe the children will spend Christmas with Mom in odd-numbered years and with Dad in even-numbered years.

Another possible solution is for each parent to decide which holidays he or she cares the most about. In interfaith families, the obvious choice is for each parent to exercise parenting time on the religious holidays that he or she observes. Therefore, the children might spend every Christmas and Easter with Mom but spend Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha with Dad every year.

Breakfast Is the Best Thanksgiving Meal

If your parenting plan specifies that the children will be with your ex on a major holiday, you can create your own special version of that holiday and celebrate it right before or right after your ex’s parenting time. For example, maybe your ex really wanted the children to be with him every year on Thanksgiving dinner, because his mother cooks a turkey and his siblings visit from out of town, and you agreed to this because, as a vegetarian, you have no use for Turkey dinners. If your ex picks up the kids at noon on Thursday, the morning is all yours. You can take the children to the only diner in your town that is open on Thanksgiving morning and have a festive pancake breakfast that they will look forward to all year.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps Former Couples Co-Parent on the Holidays and Every Day

Any divorced couple that gets through the holidays without major conflict must have a suitable parenting plan. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh & Western PA about your parenting plan. 🡺 412-419-3448