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Paul E. Riffel Tampa Estate Planning Attorney

5 Post-Holiday Mistakes Divorced Parents Can Make


Are you and your child’s other parent divorced? If so, the holidays might have been a tough time. Having to spend time away from your child during this season may not ever be easy and can often leads to arguments. Still, it may be best to avoid making these 5 post-holiday mistakes for divorced parents.

1. Avoid comparing holiday gifts. While it may be tempting to engage in competition with your ex-spouse on who bought your child the most expensive or trendiest gifts, this can be unfair to your child and may only cause you further agony if you find you have “lost” a competition that should not really have taken place. Instead, try to be enthusiastic when your child shares what he or she received for the holiday at his or her other parent’s house and share his or her joy in his or her new possessions or an experience he or she may have been gifted.

2. Refrain from pressing your child for information. On the other side of the gift equation, it can be important not to press your child for details on what he or she did at the other parent’s house. If he or she wants to share, then you should provide a listening ear. If he or she would rather not, then that can also be okay.

3. Be respectful of different traditions. If you and your ex-spouse celebrate different holidays, try to respect his or her traditions. January can seem like a great time to start emphasizing to your children why Hanukkah or Christmas is “better” than the other in preparation for next year, but it may be wiser to channel that energy into learning more during the new year about all different holidays.

4. Avoid making unilateral changes to the parenting schedule. You may have had some disappointments over how the holidays worked out this year due to conflicting schedules with school break or the other parent having more time. Still, it may be best to avoid making changes to the custody schedule without going through the proper channels.

5. If you need help, ask your attorney.  If you do want to make changes to your holiday custody schedule, ask your attorney for assistance and make sure any changes you and your ex-spouse agree upon are formally filed with the court as part of your Parenting Plan. If you do not seek your attorney’s advice and try to do something informal with your ex-spouse, if he or she decides to change his or her mind down the road, a court may not enforce an agreement that was not filed legally.

Sharing custody of a child presents unique challenges that may seem endless. Our office can provide you with assistance in custody related issues you may face. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting time.

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