For parents who have been recently divorced, and even for those who have been divorced for a long time, birthdays and holidays can prove challenging. Old traditions based on the former family structure have to be abandoned or altered to accommodate the new situation. Though difficult, this transition to a new life does not have to spell the perpetual ruin of special days. Through careful and thoughtful planning, divorced parents can replace old traditions with new ones that will continue to make these days special for all involved. With the assistance of an experienced child custody attorney, ex-spouses can establish a detailed parenting plan that helps make the transition from marriage to divorce less unsettling for the children.
Five Tips for Enjoying Special Days with Your Children After Divorce
While it is important, even imperative, to have a detailed parenting plan, everyone knows that the only constant in life is change. In order to head off unforeseen circumstances, it is good to keep in mind the following rules of thumb:
- Flexibility is key. While it may be very tempting to dig in your heels and enforce the parenting plan to a “T,” there may be circumstances that warrant a change. For instance, if your children express a desire to alter the agreement for a certain occasion, you may find yourself jeopardizing your overall relationship with them if you insist on having your way. If the change in circumstances is of a more permanent nature, you can negotiate a modification to the parenting plan with your ex.
- Take the initiative in planning ahead. Communication with your children and your ex-spouse will help make plans for special days flow more smoothly. Allow sufficient time for your former partner to consider, respond to, and prepare for the proposed agenda.
- Generosity and kindness go a long way. It may be difficult to display these virtues when you are still hurting from a divorce, but it will go a long way towards affirming your continuing love for your children if you show respect to your ex-spouse as well as to them. Avoid demonstrating any bitterness, even if provoked. Take the high road and keep your children out of any remaining disagreements with your former partner.
- Keep your promises. This one should be obvious. You should always keep your promises, especially to your children, absent a compelling and unavoidable reason to break them.
- Consult your children. Including your children in the process of planning for special days will make them happier with the outcome. As long as you make it clear to them that all parties, including both parents, must agree on the final decision, you will be helping them learn the valuable skills of communication, negotiation, and compromise.
After some time has passed and healing has occurred, some divorced couples actually find they can spend certain birthdays and holidays together, even with blending in new partners and children. However, if you are unable to accomplish this, you should still find with the passage of time that special days become more enjoyable for all involved if you take the time to plan adequately.
If you need advice on crafting a parenting plan, it is crucial to have competent legal advice. The Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. serve clients in the following South Florida counties — Martin, Palm Beach, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Hendry. Mr. Cunha has achieved a rating of 10 out of 10 (“Superb”) on Avvo.com for his outstanding legal prowess. Call today toll free at 1 (800) 558-1227, or (561) 429-3924, for a consultation.