The Holiday Season is upon us. Purchasing gifts, figuring out plans with family and decorating the house are just a few of the many, many obligations that each of us will likely engage in during the next few weeks of the year.
While this is a special and enjoyable time of the year, the obligations themselves can sometimes cloud our vision on what the most important part of the Season is and why we are doing these things in the first place.
If you are the divorced parent of a children, then you know the stresses and challenges apparent in balancing your own holiday plans and expectations with those of your ex-spouse. Even if you get along well with your ex-spouse eleven months out of the year, December brings forth extra roadblocks to civil co-parenting.
Those roadblocks can cause strife and tension between the parents even from afar. Your children will invariably notice these signs of stress and can have a tremendously negative impact on their own ability to enjoy what should be a joyous time of year. In moments of frustration you may have asked yourself if it is even possible for both you and your ex-spouse to get along and enjoy the moments that you are able to with your children.
Think positively: You and your Ex-Spouse can be civil during the Holidays
As a family law attorney who has represented clients from all walks of life here in Southeast Texas, I can definitively say that you have the ability to ease tensions and help your children to create lifelong memories around this time of year. This is a great opportunity for you and your ex-spouse.
It is easy to think only of what you want to see happen during the winter Holidays and to disregard the feelings of not only your ex-spouse but of your children. While you may not actively think along these lines, considering only your plans and wants this time of year essentially tells your children that your plans are superior to those of your ex-spouse’s. Of any message to send to your children this time of year, I can think of no one that is worse than that.
Working together to place the emphasis on your children
There is no easy way to say this, but your holidays (at least for the near future) may not be exactly what you want them to be in terms of maintaining every holiday tradition you think is important or seeing your children at every family gathering. With visitation schedules being what they are in most Texas Final Decrees of Divorce, it is unlikely that you will have the flexibility necessary to squeeze in everything that you would like.
The reason for that is you have an ex-spouse who, while no longer your spouse, is still the other parent to your children. He or she loves your children just as much as you do and is afforded an equal right to enjoy the Holiday season with them.
Above all else it is best to not put your children in a situation where they are in the middle of a conflict over holiday visitation between you and your ex-spouse. Children, no matter how young, can be acutely aware of the sort of decisions they are essentially being made to make in regard to which parent they want to spend time with over the Holidays. If you recall back to your divorce, if you made it into the courtroom your judge probably told you and your ex-spouse to not do that sort of thing during the divorce. The same rule applies post-divorce as well.
The bottom line is that you and your ex-spouse need to be able to communicate effectively during the Holidays. This does not mean you have to invite him or her over for coffee, but it does mean that however you do communicate (e-mail, phone calls, text message or a co parenting website like My Family Wizard) it should be fruitful, positive correspondence intended to help your children enjoy their time with both of you.
This avoids potentially using your children as intermediaries and placing them in the middle of a potential argument. Direct communication can lead to sorting out issues with greater ease and getting back to what really matters this time of year: your children.
Think ahead and increase the peace during the Holidays
My grandfather used to say, “If you don’t use your head, you have to use your feet.” Meaning: if you don’t plan in advance for something you’ll end up having to put forth some effort to make adjustments on the fly. If you know that there is a special event of some sort that you want your children to be present for, but the kids are scheduled to be with your ex spouse I would advise you to make your ex spouse aware of this as early as possible to see if there is a compromise that can be reached.
There isn’t always something that can be worked out, but if there is the chances of a compromise are higher in my experience in October than two days before the dinner or day trip to cut down the family Christmas tree.
If you are able to work out an agreement to alter or modify your divorce decree visitation for the holidays, make sure that you tie up any loose ends as far as pick up/drop off locations. If special warm weather clothing will be needed, make sure that it is provided- whether you are the parent who is getting the children or the one who is dropping them off. If everything is in writing and you both understand the details the odds of conflict decrease dramatically.
Remember- during the first Christmas of World War One even the British and German soldiers could agree to put down their arms to enjoy the Holiday. I’m confident that with some mutual understanding and forward planning you and your ex-spouse can help your children do the same.
Questions about Christmas and Holiday Visitation? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
If you have a question that relates to visitation with your children this year please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC to discuss that issue with one of our licensed family lawattorneys. We are available to meet with you six days per week and offer free of charge family law consultations. Whether you need a clarification on an order or an outright modification of your Divorce Decree we can help you and your family.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.