Holiday Visitation Tips for Divorced Parents – Christmas and holiday schedules for kids and families are difficult enough for any family. In a divorce situation, the delicate balance of appeasing both parties while making sure children enjoy holiday meals and traditions with both parents can be downright maddening.
Nazli Sater, a partner at Warner Norcross & Judd LLP specializing in Family Law, sees an annual uptick in her practice from now through New Year’s as parents try and work through the sticky issue of holiday scheduling and divorce.
The holidays are fast approaching and for divorcing and divorced parents throughout Michigan, that can mean hassle and heartache when it comes to scheduling holiday meals and figuring out family get-togethers.
“In many ways, it’s our job to make sure that the kids are in the right home at the right time,” said Sater. “That’s seldom as important — or as challenging — as it can be during the holidays. As parents divorce and remarry, they may be trying to accommodate the needs of blended families, new religious traditions and multiple cultures. Communication and negotiation are keys to the process, along with compromise and patience.”
Sater notes that parents who are in the process of divorcing — or who have final parenting schedules in place — may have the most challenges over dividing the holidays.
Holiday Visitation Tips for Divorced Parents from Nazli Sater, a partner at Warner Norcross & Judd LLP (specializing in Family Law):
- Past, new traditions: Sater says it can be most helpful to start with a review of what each respective family has done in the past before the divorce. If you typically spent Christmas Eve with mom’s side of the family and Christmas Day with dad’s side of the family, see if you can continue to do that. “Try to honor past traditions as much as possible, but recognize that you may not be able to keep them intact,” Sater counsels. “It may be time for divorced or divorcing parents to create new traditions for their families.”
- Alternate holidays: A simple solution may be to alternate holidays so that a child spends Thanksgiving one year with mom’s family and the next year with dad’s. Of course, Sater says, if mom gets Thanksgiving this year, it may be worthwhile to let dad’s family choose first when it comes to Christmas.
- Barter: Parents may need to do some “horsetrading” to ensure that they secure appropriate parenting time at a time when it’s most important to their respective families, Sater notes. For example, if you have a cottage and spending the Fourth of July is important to your family, offer your spouse Memorial Day AND Labor Day to ensure that your children are with you for fireworks on the Fourth.
Be creative, flexible: There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to holiday negotiations, Sater says. It’s important for spouses to be creative and flexible and try to put their children’s needs ahead of their own.
ABOUT WARNER NORCROSS & JUDD LLP:
Warner represents clients in all aspects of family law, customizing our approach to the client’s specific circumstances. We provide services in the areas of premarital and post-marital agreements, separation agreements, annulment, divorce, custody and parenting time, spousal and child support, property division, and post-judgment financial and custody matters. For information on legal services, please contact any of the related attorneys on their website.
WARNER NORCROSS & JUDD LLP MICHIGAN OFFICES:
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Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2487
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Holland, MI 49423-3528
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Lansing, MI 48933-1617
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Muskegon, MI 49443-0900
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Southfield, MI 48075-1318
For more holiday visitation tips for divorced parents, visit www.aap.org.