The holiday season is here, which should be a joyous time. Unfortunately, for families in the aftermath of divorce, life can be a little more complicated during the holiday season. When a child's parents do not live in the same household, decisions are going to need to be made regarding where a child should spend the family's special days.
Typically, decisions on where kids should spend holidays after a divorce are going to be made at the time of the divorce and will become an official part of the custody arrangement. Unfortunately, this can become a contentious issue that leaves parents fighting about what the best course of action is and that can leave kids feeling as though they are in the middle of a bad situation.
You should strongly consider getting legal help from a family law attorney to negotiate on the question of holidays and to help you make a shared parenting time agreement so you can otherwise work out what is best for your children when your marriage has come to an end.
When you make your parenting plan or custody arrangement, you should specifically address the holidays so no questions come up later and so you don't have to fight about this every year. You should try to find a solution that works for every member of your family and that provides your kids with a good holiday season. If you cannot reach a consensus with your ex on where kids will go for different holidays, the court is going to have to decide and an outcome could result that leaves everyone unhappy.
When possible, if parents celebrate different holidays or have different traditions, it is usually best to make sure the child can be with the parent who celebrates on a particular day. For example, if there is always a big party at the maternal grandparent's house for the whole family on Christmas Eve, then it may make sense for the child to spend Christmas Eve with his mother so he can attend the party. If you can try to preserve these traditions for your children, your kids can better build strong bonds with extended family members after a divorce has happened.
Parents often tend to split holidays, such as having a child spend Christmas Eve with mom and Christmas Day with dad. You could also switch off holidays, such as having the child spend Thanksgiving with mom and Christmas with dad. Alternating years is a common tactic used by divorced parents as well, so the child gets to experience holiday traditions with both of his parents. Try to find a solution that is a good compromise and that does not involve the holidays turning into a fight each year!