The holidays can be a difficult time for families in Illinois that are dealing with divorce. However, there are things parents can do to ease the situation for their children.
Parents should think about how they can combine old traditions and make new ones. For example, the children might be accustomed to spending the holidays with certain family members. Parents should also consider whether certain aspects of the holiday are particularly important for their children or for themselves. It might be the only time children see certain extended family members, or a parent may celebrate an important part of the holiday at a particular time of day.
Parents should try to work together. For example, they might want to decide on a budget for holiday spending. They might also want to make sure that each is satisfied with the amount of time they have for the holiday. Parents may ask themselves how they would feel if the holiday schedule were reversed and they had the schedule of the other parent. This can help parents to realize that they are both feeling loss. In some cases, a parent might not get any holiday time with the child for various reasons. If this is the case, parents should be supportive of children and remember to keep the focus on their best interests.
Holiday scheduling might be part of the custody and visitation agreement for parents, or they may negotiate it separately. Although parents can go to court and have a judge make a decision about child custody, it may be better if they are able to negotiate this decision themselves. It leaves them in more control of the outcome, but it also creates an atmosphere in which they are working together at co-parenting rather than in an adversarial way.