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Holiday Season and Parenting Time in Chicago Divorce: Thanksgiving and Christmas

The holiday season is a time of joy and togetherness, but for divorced parents, it can also bring a unique set of challenges and emotions. Balancing parenting time during Thanksgiving and Christmas in the midst of a divorce can be a daunting task, but with careful planning, open communication, and a focus on your children’s well-being, it is possible to create meaningful and memorable holiday experiences. In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips and strategies for successfully navigating Thanksgiving and Christmas parenting time in Chicago divorce cases.

Chicago, like many jurisdictions, has established guidelines and laws to address parenting time during holidays. Familiarize yourself with these regulations by consulting your divorce decree or seeking legal counsel, if necessary. This will ensure that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as a divorced parent during the holiday season.

Effective communication between co-parents is the key to successful holiday parenting time arrangements. Start discussions well in advance of the holiday season, preferably several months ahead. Consider the following topics:

  • Determine holiday schedules: Decide how you will split Thanksgiving and Christmas, including specific dates and times for each parent’s time with the children.
  • Alternate years: Many parents choose to alternate holidays each year, which can provide consistency and predictability for both parents and children.
  • Flexibility: Be prepared for changes and be willing to adjust schedules if unforeseen circumstances arise.
  • Travel plans: Discuss any potential travel plans and coordinate to ensure the children’s needs are met.

Remember that holidays can be emotionally charged, and your children’s well-being should be the top priority. Here are some ways to make the holidays special for them:

  • Maintain traditions: If your family has holiday traditions, try to keep them alive in some form. This can provide comfort and a sense of continuity for your children.
  • Encourage communication: Allow your children to express their feelings about the holidays, their desires, and any concerns they may have.
  • Be respectful: Avoid discussing negative aspects of the divorce or any ongoing conflicts with your co-parent in front of the children.
  • Focus on quality time: Make the most of the time you have with your children during the holidays, engaging in meaningful and enjoyable activities together.

Once you’ve communicated with your co-parent and considered your children’s needs and wishes, it’s time to create a detailed holiday parenting plan. This plan should include:

  • A clear schedule for Thanksgiving and Christmas, including pick-up and drop-off times.
  • Provisions for special occasions, like holiday meals and gift exchanges.
  • Information on how any potential disagreements will be resolved, such as through mediation or legal channels.

Navigating Thanksgiving and Christmas parenting time in the midst of a Chicago divorce is undoubtedly challenging. However, by prioritizing open communication, focusing on your children’s well-being, and adhering to legal guidelines, you can create a positive and loving holiday experience for your children. Remember that the true spirit of the season lies in the joy and togetherness you can still provide, regardless of your family’s structure.  If you have concerns about the holiday parenting time schedule then you should reach out to an experienced Chicago divorce attorney well in advance of any Holiday to ensure that the issues can be addressed prior to the Holiday and with every effort to avoid litigation on the issue.  Ward Family Law, LLC is available to you – call us at 312-803-5838 or email Jennifer Ward directly for a consultation at jward@wardfamilylawchicago.com.



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