Making The Holidays Less Stressful

If you are in the middle of your contested divorce and have not worked out a schedule for your children for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the holiday school recess, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day you are courting disaster.

Between now and the first two weeks in December I urge you to work out the parenting schedule with your spouse, or if not married with the other parent, so that there are no last minute calls to your attorneys, rushes to go to court and incurring large legal fees to try and resolve what does not have to be so complicated.

If you are fair then you will save money and both you and your children will enjoy the holidays. A typical schedule is that one parent has Christmas Eve and the other has Christmas Day. If this is the first year that the parents are in different homes, then dependent upon the age of the children, the parents may wish to consider allowing the children to wake up Christmas morning in the marital residence with the agreement that the following year they will wake up at the other parent's home on Christmas morning. Most families will have Christmas Eve start in the morning and either end later in the evening or sometimes at 11 AM on Christmas Day, if they are staying overnight. The other parent then will have the remainder of Christmas Day until 11AM on December 26th.

The rest of the school recess can be divided between the parents and if they want they can provide a similar schedule for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Neither parent should approach the holidays with the belief that they are entitled to both Christmas Eve and Day. Parents that are not reasonable will appear that way to the judge when there is an urgent court application made at the last minute. The holidays should be enjoyed by the children and not remembered as their parents wage a custody battle a day or two before Christmas Eve.