With Thanksgiving upon us, divorced or divorcing families are now thinking about how they are going to spend and share the holidays this year. Which house? Who gets the kids? Who buys which gifts?
At Westfield Mediation, LLC, our divorce mediation clients often ask us – – what is the best way to deal with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve and Day? There are several good options, and the answer really depends on your specific family traditions, and how close – geographically and emotionally – each parent is to his⁄her extended family. In divorce mediation, we craft a personalized plan for sharing or alternating holidays that works for your particular family.
Still, it is important to keep in mind that divorce generally changes the way families spend the holidays. As a result, there will likely be times when your children are with the other parent, and not with you. The goal in divorce mediation is to address the scheduling issues up–front to minimize conflict and stress, so that everyone knows what to expect, and the holidays remain enjoyable and fun for all.
Another issue that often arises during Christmas and Hanukkah is gift-giving. To the extent possible, we suggest that parents coordinate their gift–giving so that it is equivalent and fair. This way neither parent is viewed as the more generous one, and no kids wind up with unnecessary or duplicate gifts.
Everyone knows that the holidays can be stressful, and divorce may further complicate this family time. However, setting up plans in advance through divorce mediation can preserve the fun and excitement of this special time of the year.