Managing Your First Holiday Season After Divorce

Holiday dinner place setting at in a family dining room

The divorce is now officially finalized, and you breathe a sigh of relief. You are free from your marriage. You’re preparing for a new lifestyle where your kids may or may not be with you as often. However, the holidays are around the corner. Contemplating the first holidays after divorce can be a cause of anxiety and worry for many recently divorced parents, particularly when custody issues come into play. It’s easy to wonder if it’s really the most wonderful time of the year.

Read on for a few of the common holiday arrangements for divorced parents and how to make your first holidays after divorce easier to navigate.

A Look at Holiday Arrangements for Divorced Parents

As you tackle issues like child custody during your divorce proceeding, it is paramount that you pay special attention to how you will spend your first holidays after divorce. After all, holidays are generally perceived as a symbol of togetherness, so both you and your soon-to-be-ex will naturally want to spend as much of the holidays with your children as possible. This is also dependant on how custody was granted between both parties. The question is, how can you approach this matter fairly?

Let’s take a look at some common methods that parents use to share and divide their holiday time each year. The solution that you choose should be recorded in your parenting agreement and followed going forward.

Alternating Holidays

With this method, you and the other parent would essentially alternative holidays with the children every other year. For instance, you could spend the holidays with your children in even years, whereas the other parent would see them in the odd years. This can be an excellent option in that you will not miss seeing the children for two consecutive holiday seasons.

Dividing the Holidays

With this option, you could see your child every holiday—of course, as long as you and the other parent live relatively close to each other. You would simply spend half of each holiday with your children and then let your ex spend the rest of the day with them.

Allow Your Children to Celebrate the Holidays Two Times

With this method, you could arrange for both you and the other parent to spend the holidays with your children on separate days. For example, your ex could be with them on Dec. 21, while you spend Dec. 25 with them.

Institute Fixed Holidays

If you’re a stickler for consistency, this is likely the best option for you. With this arrangement, you could spend every Thanksgiving with the children, while your ex can spend every Christmas with them, for example. This works well if either you or the other party has a holiday that you feel is very important to you.

What to do When You Don’t Have the Kids during the First Holidays After Divorce

So, what should you do if you end up not being able to see your children during your first holidays after divorce?

One idea that will help you to enjoy the holidays to the fullest even when you’re not with your little ones is to spend time with parents undergoing similar journeys as yours. Getting together with other parents who have been through divorce can help you to feel connected and fulfilled during the holiday season when you otherwise may be spending time alone. In addition, these parents can give you helpful advice and support even beyond the holiday season.

You can also choose to spend time with your own parents and siblings, nieces and nephews. Or, devote a night to a friends’ holiday dinner, as our friends can also be our chosen family for occasions such as this.

Also, be sure to splurge on yourself a little during your first holidays after divorce. Treating yourself can help you to feel more special and bring a little more joy to your holidays. For instance, take part in a painting class, or get a pedicure. Whatever you do, make sure that it is something that will make you feel great in the end.

Make the Most of Your First Holidays After Divorce Starting Today!

Navigating the holidays after divorce can no doubt be emotionally challenging. However, I, attorney Michael C. MacNeil, can help you to work out a parenting agreement during the divorce process that will take into consideration your wishes when it comes to your holiday arrangements for your children. I will strive to help you to achieve a comprehensive, fair, and personally favorable resolution with the other parent, keeping in mind the best interests of your children.

Contact me today to learn more about how to successfully navigate holiday arrangements for divorced parents and pursue an arrangement that works best for your family.

About Michael MacNeil

Michael C. MacNeil is a San Diego Family Law and Criminal Defense attorney. With a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, MacNeil has a solid understanding of our justice system. As a member of the State Bar of California, MacNeal can practice before all courts in the state. MacNeil believes that the law should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. With over 20 years of experience, Michael C. MacNeil is passionate about the law and will work tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for you. Call Mr. MacNeil at 858-922-7098.