Parenting plans: Navigating holiday wish lists and divorce

In our previous blog post, we discussed some of the challenges and considerations newly divorced parents might have to make during the holiday season. Of course, custody issues can arise this time of year, but there's another major component of the season: gift giving.

Above all, parents want to make sure their kids are happy. Immediately after divorce, there may be temptation to engage in a competition to give the best possible Christmas gifts. Whether or not it's intentional, trying to out-do your ex-spouse can create significant tension. In order to avoid unnecessary tension, while still keeping the holiday season joyful, couples can consider divorce mediation in order to forge a comprehensive parenting plan.

The reality is that even though divorce ends a marital relationship, parents may have to maintain a working relationship to ensure their children are happy and healthy after divorce. Parenting plans can help keep parents on the same page when trying to care for their children. Not only that, but it can make sure there are opportunities for parents to have discussions. During the Christmas season, parents may want to discuss what gifts they will be getting, in addition to setting spending limits.

Even though parents might not immediately consider it, family law observers point out that there are custodial concerns. Specifically, figuring out if certain gifts will move between parents' houses or not. This can be a very big deal for children, especially since creating stable environments is important.

Even though this year’s holiday season will come and go rather quickly, this is something parents should keep in mind no matter what time of year they file for divorce. Children often look forward to the holidays, so taking steps to help make post-divorce adjustments may be beneficial.

Source: Associated Press, "Holiday Gifting Can Be Vexing for Kids of Divorce," Leanne Italie, Dec. 23, 2013

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