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The Do’s and Don’ts of Holiday Co-Parenting After Divorce


The holidays are one of the most exciting times of year for many people, and especially for children. Time seems to slow down as focus centers on making plans with family and friends and enjoying traditions that have been celebrated year after year. However, a divorce can change many aspects of holiday celebrations. If you are apprehensive about celebrating holidays post-divorce, you are in good company as about five million Canadians have separated or divorced within the last twenty years according to data from the General Social Survey on Families. The child custody lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP understand the unique challenges that come with facing a holiday after a divorce.

While the holidays would ideally remain as special as they have always been, the reality is that this time of year can be one of the hardest to deal with when you have experienced a divorce. This is even more true when you and your ex-spouse share children. And remember, as difficult as this time is for you, it is even harder for them. Fortunately, it is possible to have just as joyous of a holiday season as you have always had as long as you prepare yourself in advance so that you can help ensure that you and your children have a great time.

These are the do’s and don’ts of co-parenting during the holidays.

Do – establish new traditions. You may no longer live in the same house, or even in the same city that your children have always lived in. Retain some elements of tradition – if you have always hung stockings, hang them in your new home. But also try doing a new craft, making a new recipe together, or getting outdoors and trying a new activity with your children to create new memories.

Don’t – try to outdo your ex. You should stay within your allotted budget and remember that your children love you for you – not for what you can give them. Spending above your means will only create a different set of monetary issues that you have to deal with later. Further, your children won’t remember the toy you bought, but they will remember the havoc it created.

Do – communicate with your ex-spouse well in advance. You should determine the schedule for your children if it is not stipulated by your custody agreement. Try to remain fair and divide time equally if you know that celebrating together is not an option. For example, if you celebrate Christmas, consider one parent having the children on Christmas Eve and the other parent having them on Christmas Day.

Don’t – fight with your ex-spouse in front of your children or try to use them as pawns. Be aware that holidays can be a popular time to introduce a new boyfriend or girlfriend to children. If you are faced with a situation that triggers your emotions, try to remember that your emotions should not affect the relationship your ex-spouse has with your children.

Do – Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today.

If you have questions about child custody, you should reach out to an experienced family law attorney who can help clarify your situation. The Mississauga child custody lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP have significant experience helping people like you figure out how to successfully co-parent with an ex-spouse after a divorce. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to confidentially begin to figure out your next steps.


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