Is it possible to end a marriage but still enjoy a low-stress holiday season? While it is definitely true that divorce affects parents, children, extended family and friends, it is not necessarily always true that getting divorced before the holidays means there will be no celebrations ahead. In fact, many Washington families are able to peacefully and amicably navigate the holidays so that their children’s best interests are the central focus.
Divorce prompts lifestyle changes, no doubt. However, children are typically highly adaptable, which means they can likely adjust to a “new normal” once their parents are no longer living under the same roof. It is a good idea to lower the expectations, especially the first year. Inform the kids that things may be a little different this year, but will still be festive and fun.
The exact date of a particular holiday is not as important as making sure children get to spend time with their parents. One parent might agree to spend the day with the kids on a weekend or day that falls close to the actual holiday date, such as one parent spending Christmas Eve with the kids and the other, Christmas Day. This allows both parents to share time with the kids without arguing over who gets to have them on the exact special occasion date.
If a parent will not be present on a holiday, he or she can send a video to participate in customs from afar. A great idea is to record oneself reading a favorite holiday story, then send it to the children. It may not be quite the same as being there but chances are, it will make the kids happy to receive it. Many parents in similar circumstances also stay in contact by FaceTime, Skype or another videoconferencing platform.
Sometimes, divorce can spark contention between co-parents, especially if a parent is disregarding a court order or there is an issue that remains unresolved because parents cannot seem to find common ground for agreement. In such cases, it is a good idea to connect with an experienced Washington family law attorney who can provide guidance and support for even the most complex cases. The sooner a problem issue is resolved, the better able to enjoy the holidays everyone involved might be.