For most California families, the holiday season is something to look forward to. Some, however, may feel less cheer, particularly those in which parents have gotten recently divorced. In these cases, previous years of gift giving and enjoying a holiday dinner have now been replaced with car trips in which children are shuttled back and forth between separate houses.
Like much of the time after a child-custody case has been settled, the holiday season can be emotional for family members as they are acutely reminded of what has changed. Even if a custody agreement has been reached and the visitation rights and arrangements of the noncustodial parent have been recognized, everyone involved may feel stressed out.
Holidays, however, should not be about the negative feelings that either of the divorced parents have but about making the time memorable for their children.
There are many ways that can help co-parents survive the holidays. First, they have to plan ahead and figure out whether they want to create new traditions or approaches to gift-giving and family celebrations or find ways to use the old ones. When children spend holiday time at each parent's house, every minute should be in pursuit of worthwhile activities.
If the divorce transition during the holiday season is too emotionally difficult for parents, then they might consider celebrating the holidays together for the sake of the children, but only if they can at least temporarily put aside their most emotional issues.
Many legal and practical issues may be involved in co-parenting and divorce in California. An attorney may be able to help both parents achieve the appropriate type of custody that is most suitable to their circumstances. If parents go for joint custody, a parenting plan should address co-parenting issues that might arise during the holidays.
Source: Huffington Post, "Surviving the Co-Parenting "Holiday Shuffle," Michelle Crosby, Nov. 18, 2013