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Birmingham, Mich. – Nov. 12, 2014 – Tis’ the season for peace, harmony and good will. But with more than four million divorced parents having to share time with their children this holiday season, it may not be that joyful. Jessica Woll, managing partner of Woll & Woll, P.C., a Michigan-based divorce and family law practice with a niche expertise in complex family law issues, offers six holiday survival tips for divorced parents.
1. Remain “child-centric” at all times.
“A child’s needs always come first. I remind clients to ask themselves what their child will benefit from most. What will create happy holiday memories? When parents answer these questions as if they were the child, the answer places the child’s needs first,” Woll said. “And yes, this may mean allowing the child to pick out a gift for the other parent at the ex’s expense.”
2. Be flexible. As children grow, their needs change; a holiday parenting schedule created when the child was five years old may not be right for the child at fifteen.
“If a judgment of divorce calls for equal parenting time over the winter break and holidays, remember that mathematical equality might not be perfect for each child every year of their life until they turn 18,” Woll said.
3. Remember to share the children.
“As a divorce attorney for more than 20 years I have found young children want nothing more than to spend time with both of their parents at the same time – and this could not be any truer than during the holidays,” Woll said. “If parents can stomach it, try to include the ex in one of the family events or plan a small outing for just the parents and the child; something as simple as going to a movie.”
4. Start a new holiday tradition.
“Whether it’s simply reading a special holiday book or taking a family trip, creating new traditions as the children grow can help ease the loss they feel as a result of their parents’ separation and make the holidays more manageable and enjoyable for all,” Woll said.
5. Control emotions and “fake it till you make it.”
“The holidays are possibly the worst time to utter even one negative comment about the other parent or his/her family. While many parents are divorced because they have been wronged by their ex, they may have to fake it and shelf their feelings, especially during the holidays,” Woll said.
6. Planning and communication are key. Ample planning and communication can help the season go smoothly for both the parents and children. It may also save parents from scrambling to court last minute to enforce holiday parenting time agreements.
“The goal is to stay out of court. Therefore, planning with the ex several weeks or even months before the holidays arrive and confirming plans in writing can help facilitate this process,” Woll said.
About Woll & Woll, P.C.
Celebrating 20 years as a firm in 2014, Woll & Woll, P.C. specializes in divorce and family law, including legal separation, post-judgment of divorce matters, removal of domicile actions, stepparent adoption, custody, child support, paternity and other family issues. Learn more at http://www.wollandwollpc.com.