Tips for divorcees to develop visitation plans during holidays

The holiday season is right around the corner. As families muse over who will hold this year's Thanksgiving dinner, individuals recently divorced with children may have other matters on their mind such as child visitation issues. After a divorce is finalized, grandparents' may wonder as well if they will get to see their grandchildren this holiday season.

A family counselor in West Boca, Florida who provides parenting coordination, mediation services and helps families transition into some form of normalcy after long family court proceedings, has some tips for divorced parents on how to handle the holidays after a divorce. After a divorce, children tend to be more protective of their parents. Thus, she encourages parents to get the input of their children. Rather than trying to get back at their former spouse, she suggests that the custodial parent take cues from the child and try out an alternating holiday plan wherein one year the holiday is spend with one parent and the next year with the other parent.

However, remarriage shortly after divorce or being with someone else may make it harder on the child and the child may not want to spend the holiday with the step parent. Divorce and the separation of the parents, is generally hard on children and it may take time for them to adjust. Thus, parents must do their best to communicate with their children.

Occasionally, extended family such as grandparents may be upset that they cannot see their grandchildren and share the joys of the holiday post-divorce. Civility in conversation with grandparents on child visitation issues is the most important.

Given the potential child visitation issues divorced parents may encounter during the holiday season, it is important not to put the children in the middle of any angst they have against their former spouse.

It is important for parents during a divorce to wholeheartedly consider a parenting plan keeping in mind the best interest of the child and have the non-custodial parent play a role in their life. If possible, it may be important to consider a schedule in the visitation plan that involves grandparents and their ability to see their grandchildren.

Divorced parents can try to make it easier on each other by mutually agreeing to a visitation schedule which offers some sense of normalcy for the child and puts aside the anger.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Newly divorced angst over holiday plans," Marci Shatzman, Nov. 7, 2012

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