Celebrating Christmas and other Holidays when you share time with your kids

December 8, 2021

As a divorce attorney, the fall & winter holiday season is often the most challenging time of year. Parents understandably want to maintain traditions and spend quality time with their children. However, without a clear plan, emotions can run high, leading to conflict and heartache. And attorneys are human too — they want to spend time with their families and not sorting out issues for clients. It is also the time of year where a divorce lawyer is the most likely to be screamed at by a client, threatened by an opposing party and be unappreciated by everyone.

The Challenge of Last-Minute Court Orders


Many parents wait until the last minute to seek a holiday parenting time order. Unfortunately, Illinois courts are often overwhelmed during this time of year, and judges are hesitant to intervene in cases that could have been resolved earlier. Trying to get a last-minute order can be costly, frustrating, and might not result in the outcome you desire.

A Word of Caution: If you’re relying on the court to create a holiday schedule, you might be disappointed. Judges often see this as a last resort and may not be sympathetic to parents who haven’t made an effort to cooperate. And getting 15 minutes from a judge is going to cost you hundreds of dollars, if not thousands.

Creating a Holiday Plan That Works for Everyone


Instead of battling it out in court, consider these strategies for a smoother holiday season:

  1. Reimagine Your Traditions: Divorce changes many things, including holiday celebrations. Embrace the opportunity to create new traditions that reflect your current family dynamic.

  2. Prioritize and Compromise: Discuss with your co-parent which traditions are most important to each of you and find ways to share them. Remember, your child likely wants to celebrate with both of you.

  3. Be Flexible and Creative: If you don’t have the children on the actual holiday, create a special celebration on another day. Children are adaptable, and they’ll cherish the extra time and attention you give them, regardless of the date.

  4. Focus on Your Child’s Needs: Explain to your children that Santa can visit both houses or that Thanksgiving dinner can be enjoyed twice. Help them understand that the holidays are about love and togetherness, not a competition between parents.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

The sooner you address holiday parenting time, the less stressful the season will be. If you’re currently going through a divorce, let’s start working on a plan now so you can have your holidays in place for 2024.

Need Help with Your Holiday Parenting Plan?

I can help you negotiate an agreement with your co-parent or draft a parenting plan that reflects your family’s unique needs. Call my office at 618-726-2671 or reach out through my website for a free consultation. My goal is to help you create a peaceful and joyful holiday season for your family.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss your specific situation and legal options.

My office will be closed beginning on December 23 and I will reopen on January 3, 2022. However, you can contact me now to get started