Because a multi-household family can be hard on everyone, here are a few child custody tips for the holidays.  As parents can carry their feeling from the divorce forward and children can feel torn between the two parents, holidays can make this even more challenging and exacerbate the discomfort if you are not prepared to plan ahead. Especially in the first year following separation, make sure that all your family members have the most enjoyable holiday celebration  possible by being prepared for potential issues and challenges associated with parenting time.

Should We Split the Celebrations?

One idea for dealing with the holidays is to split the celebrations and have one hosted by each parent. This might mean that each parent hosts his/her holiday traditions on an alternate day. It is hard for children who are just adjusting to divorce to go through the first holidays with events at separate locations, so if possible, try to work through and cooperate with your former spouse to ease this transition. If it works out that the only way to do the holidays is on separate days, just give your children some extra reassurance and love during this time. It is not easy for you, but it may be even harder for them. If at all possible, make an attempt to include the other parent. This might be sending a treat or a video, doing an online chat or with a phone call.

Should We Share the Same Day?

To minimize the sense of separation for the children, share the day of holiday events so that parents are a part of the children’s celebration of each holiday.

How to Ease the Transition

When children are going through a divorce, it is very difficult to adjust to having a holiday with two different families. To make this a little bit easier, it is a great opportunity for you to cooperate clearly with your former spouse and to determine what is best for the children. Although you may have your own emotional attachments to pass traditions or you may be struggling with the difficulties of ending the marriage on your own, is the holidays are a time to put the children first.

The Benefits of Clear Plans

Having clear plans and expectations and keeping an open line of communication between you and your former spouse can minimize issues and prevent problems before they happen. Make sure you are considerate of the other person’s time and do not interrupt it even if this may be difficult. It is hard for everyone to adjust to a new schedule during the holidays when a divorce has happened but complying with the guidelines you have set up and giving respect to the former spouse can make things a little bit easier.

Going through the holidays after a recent divorce can be easier if you plan ahead and are willing to work with your former spouse for what is truly best for the children. There is no way to avoid the fact that some of it may be emotionally painful, but there are steps you can take to minimize this.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Child Custody Tips for the Holidays, or any other family law issue,  please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300,  log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.