A Holiday Reminder for Divorced Parents in Texas


The holiday season may be almost over but it’s not a secret that it remains a challenge for divorced parents in Texas. Divorced parents also have to buy gifts, make and carry out plans for the holidays but it’s a period they have to deal with a little differently. To top that off, the holiday obligations all parents have to deal with can cause them to lose sight of what really counts during the holiday season. This season is still one that’s meant to be celebrated and enjoyed.


Stresses and Challenges of Divorced Parents in Texas


If you are a divorced parent, you must be already well-versed regarding the challenges and the struggles this holiday season brings. For sure you have your own holiday plans, and your spouse also has his or her own plans. Both of your expectations could be different, which poses as a potential risk for disappointments on either side during the holidays. Even if things go well between you and your ex-spouse for the rest of the year in terms of co-parenting, it is the holiday season at the end of the year that will really test your civility towards each other.

There can be a stifling tension between you and your co-parent, which could stem from different plans and holiday ideas. Both of you will want to have the children with you for the holidays but since you’re living separately, it’s a difficult thing to accept the fact that one must spend the holiday without the children, as per court orders. Your children will be able to sense the stress and tension and it will hinder them from completely enjoying the holidays.


Civil for the Holidays


An obvious solution to this problem is for both parents to try to remain civil despite the chaos and the conflicting emotions brought about by the holidays. You have the power to ease the holiday tensions – both you and your spouse. You can try to disregard ill feelings between you and your spouse and think of the children. It may be difficult to make this happen, but think about how a rift between you and your co-parent would affect the children.

Even if you secretly loathe each other, work together with your spouse in prioritizing the children. You may not be able to spend the holidays according to family tradition, because of the inflexible schedule set by the Texas courts in most divorces. Things will not go as you planned. However, think about this: your ex-spouse is still your children’s parent. He or she loves the children as much as you do and has rights just like you do.

You also wouldn’t want to place your children in the middle of parental conflict wherein they’d feel they have to choose sides. Even if your children are quite young, they would be aware if they are being made to choose sides, and frankly, it wouldn’t do them any good.


Communication During the Holidays

Keep your communication lines open during the holidays. You don’t need to go as far as including your spouse in your Christmas dinner plan. Communicating through whatever application or medium you use as co-parents would suffice.

Avoid subjecting your children to being intermediaries between you and your spouse. Don’t put them in the middle of arguments. If you communicate properly and directly with your co-parent, you would be able to sort out whatever issues you may have. You can definitely promote peace during the holidays and focus more on the true reason why you’re celebrating the holidays in the first place.


Plan Ahead

Another strategy you can use is planning ahead for the holidays. Even though the holiday season is about to end, there’s still one coming up next year. Make plans for the holidays and whatever special occasion you are set to celebrate in the following year. In case those falls on a period when your ex-spouse will have custody of the children, you need to let your spouse know so that you can both think of a possible solution or alternatives. Of course, you can’t always expect that things will go your way, but there is always a chance of a compromise.

If you do reach an agreement with your ex-spouse regarding your visitation schedule, make sure that there are no loose ends when it comes to dropping off and picking up as well as the other details of your arrangement. For instance, if warm clothes are needed, you need to provide those – it doesn’t matter if you are the one picking up or dropping off the children. In the end, this is an effort you are doing for the well-being of the children.

If you can get the agreement in writing, it would be even better. When you have such agreements in writing and signed by both parents, you are dramatically decreasing the chances of anything going wrong.

With all of these bases covered, you and your ex, and especially the children, will be able to have an enjoyable holiday season every year.


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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at attorney@okohlaw.us