Divorce in Chicago: Planning for the Holidays with Your Children

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Going through a divorce is a difficult time, and when you have children, planning for the holidays can be anything but simple. You want your children to get through the holidays and the divorce process with as little disruption as possible – one of the best ways to make sure this happens during the holidays is to plan ahead. Have you and your ex (or soon-to-be-ex) worked out who the children will stay with over holiday breaks from school? When will parenting time be for each of you? How about the actual holidays? Planning ahead now will undoubtedly spare everyone from undue stress later.

Keep in mind: Courts generally frown upon motions to set holiday parenting time when cases are brought up as emergencies. You know the holidays are coming and you need to plan accordingly; potential conflicts can be resolved much more smoothly with advanced planning. Following are some tips you and your ex need to follow to plan successfully for holidays with the children with as little fuss as possible:

  1. Try to work through scheduling in a way that makes sense for everyone. You need to recognize that although you’d love to have your children with you for the duration of their holiday vacations from school, your ex has just as much desire and just as much right, too (usually). Be aware and keep in mind that a resolution is going to require some give and take, on both of your accounts. Don’t expect to approach your ex with a list of demands and win everything you want without some compromise.
  2. Having a candid discussion with your ex about how each of you are going to want to spend and share parenting time is essential; listen to the other party and expect them to listen to you, too. A brief statement to open the discussion simply stating that the holidays are coming and you’d like to get “everything ironed out ahead of time” is often all it takes to get the conversation rolling. Keep track and take notes – if worse comes to worse and your ex doesn’t want to discuss it at the moment, jot that down and try again soon; your efforts to work through it amicably will aid your case, should it reach that level.
  3. Try to keep as many traditions as you can, but also realize that some traditions may no longer work for you and your children. Traditions bring a sense of happiness and comfort of the familiar for people, and children are no different. Keep as many traditions when you are with your children during your parenting time, and don’t be afraid to create some new ones, too.
  4. Be sure to confirm any and all plans with your ex – in writing. A phone call discussion or a face-to-face conversation is great and all, but down the road if plans become jumbled or there is a dispute regarding the agreed upon parenting time, you can reference the signed and dated agreement that both of you signed to potentially resolve any situations quickly and without frustration.
  5. If you and your ex cannot reach an agreement regarding parenting time, make an appointment to speak with your Chicago divorce lawyer. He or she will advise you on the next steps that are appropriate, and will guide you regarding state laws that are in place to help sort through holiday visitation and parenting time.

Although there are many things to consider in regards to parenting time after or during a divorce, with planning in advance, attention to keeping old traditions and creating new ones, and keeping written records of agreements and conversations, you can help ensure you get the quality time with your children that you and they deserve during the holidays. Contacting your divorce attorney in Chicago, IL sooner rather than later will ensure that any problems or disputes can be resolved in a timely matter before the holidays.