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Divorcing Parents Beware - Here are Ways to Avoid Ruining the Holidays for Your Children

If you are contemplating a divorce or going through a divorce this holiday season, it is crucial that you don't make your children suffer during the holidays... or for any other time for that matter. With some effort on the part of both parents, your children's holiday won't be a time they remember as adults as the saddest time of the year.

"Save any divorce talk with your children until after the holidays. There is no need for them to associate the holidays with your divorce."

To help divorcing parents get through the holiday season, here are some tips you and your spouse should consider following:

  • Don't give your children too many gifts as a way to "make up" for the fact you are divorcing. Down the road, it will come back to haunt you.
  • Do talk with your soon to be ex about what gifts each of you are getting for your children. They don't need two scooters or two of the same doll.
  • If at all possible, try to spend the holidays together as a family. However, if you and your spouse are going to fight in front of the children, celebrate the holiday separately.
  • If your children already know you are divorcing, be careful that your children don't believe that seeing you together is a holiday present, and that you are getting back together again.
  • Parents that are living separately need to start a new holiday tradition with their children. Allow your children to provide input as to how they want to spend the time.
  • Don't make your child feel guilty if he or she wants to spend the holiday with your soon to be ex. Remember, there will be many more holidays where you can be together.

"For grandparents who feel they are getting the short end of the stick this holiday season, here are a few holiday tips for you," says James.

  • If no time is available to celebrate the holidays with your grandchildren because they are spending time separately with each of their parents, start a new tradition. Have a discussion with your child about celebrating with your grandchildren right after the first of the year.
  • Remember, the best interests of your child and grandchildren need to be at the top of your holiday wish list. This is not a snub. Don't take it personality. There will be other holidays where you can spend time with your grandchildren.
  • Support your child during this very emotional time in his or her life. Sadly, going through a divorce was never on their mind when he or she got married.


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In deciding child custody, the Illinois court does not consider the gender of the custodial parent. The court considers all relevant factors including the wishes of the child's parents, the wishes of the child, the relationship of the child with the parents, siblings, and any other person who significantly affects the child's best interest, the child's adjustment to home, school, and community, the mental and physical health of everyone, any physical violence by the child's potential custodian, whether directed at the child or at another person, episodes of repeated abuse whether directed at the child or directed at another person, and the willingness and ability of each parent to encourage a close relationship between the other parent and the child.
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