Divorce attorneys in Pasadena know that even in the best situations, the holidays often are a stressful time of year. Between juggling schedules, coordinating holiday travel, planning dinners and attending your child's holiday performances, there are plenty of opportunities for dramatic interaction with your ex-spouse. But with a bit of planning ahead, some evolved methods of communication and a lot of deep breathing, a happy holiday season can be easier than you think.
The first rule of holiday harmony for divorced families is to plan ahead. A parenting schedule and set of expectations should be established long before you start trimming the tree. Coordinate with your ex several weeks in advance to avoid last minute snafus and unnecessary pressure. Having a clear agreement in writing which states what parent gets the children on what holiday eliminates uncertainty and confusion. Planning ahead with your ex about gift giving is key, too. By dividing the Santa lists amongst you and your ex, the kids are less likely to be disappointed on the big day. Planning all of this in advance will give you more time to actually enjoy yourself, as well.
Next, the biggest thing we can do for our families and children during the holidays is to let bygones be bygones. While this is next to impossible in highly-toxic relationships with exes, an attempt should nevertheless be made to achieve peace - even it if is only for a short period of time. Picking your battles or choosing not to fight at all during the holiday season will help you sleep better at night, too. Not engaging in bickering or jealousy are two big things a parent can do that simply require some maturity.
Lastly, take time for yourself. Divorced parents need to care for themselves so things like an extra yoga class, a movie with friends or a long walk can provide a bit of serenity amidst the holiday chaos. Sure, in these times peace on Earth seems like a tall order, but a little inner peace can be beneficial for those around you as well.