Scroll Top

Long Island Divorce Lawyer Advice – Your First Holiday Divorced

Long Island divorce lawyer

One of the determining factors for custody is a parent’s ability to foster a relationship with the other parent. For short, the ability to co-parent. Being able to co-parent is complex, even if you get along great with your ex. This is especially true around the holidays when you may have to hand your children off and spend the day without them.

Jessica Zelenka, Long Island Divorce Lawyer with the Kleyman Domestic Relations Law Firm says “as a part of your divorce agreement, there is usually a parenting plan that is implemented. This sets up what parent has access to the children when, and where they will go for holidays. While it’s not easy by any means to come up with a parenting plan, that’s only half the battle.”

So, you have this plan in place. Odd years dad gets the children for thanksgiving, even years mom gets them. Christmas eve with dad, Christmas day with mom, and so on with odd years sleeping at dads and even years sleeping at moms. The agreement set in place can get as specific and complex as needs be. Being able to execute this agreement as planned can come with a lot of feelings and mixed emotions.

Spending Holidays Together “For The Kids”?

Some parents wonder if they should come together for their holidays for their children’s benefit. This may seem like a great idea in theory, but you need to take a serious look at if it can be done without tension. Risa Garon, LCSW-C executive director and cofounder of The National Family Resiliency Center, Inc, cautions parents of giving children “False hope” by doing this for the holidays. A lot of times children get used to not having their parents together, by coming together for holidays you want to be careful that your children understand what is going on.

Before you decide on anything take a step back and think, in the future what do I want my children to remember? A hostile Christmas or that they had 2 Christmases that were happy and memorable. If you don’t think your family will be able to be blended this holiday season that’s okay too.

Blending family together takes time. Don’t have high expectations of being able to be together the first holiday season after divorce. Especially when it comes to extended family. Lives change after a divorce or separation, it’s important to have these realizations and conversations with extended family so you can manage their expectations as well.

“Be flexible instead of focusing on what’s fair. A child would way more appreciate a parent being flexible and helping to alleviate their stress instead of making them feel guilty or adding to their stress.” says Jesscia Zelenka, Long Island Divorce Lawyer.

Gift Giving

As a parent you want to give your kid whatever they want so they have the best holiday, especially if it’s the first holiday without an in-tact household. As a divorced parent, it can be even more tempting to overextend yourselves to “win” your child over. This creates a competitive environment and will not work out in the end. Gift’s will not compensate or change the situation your family is in, but meaningful time spent will be what’s remembered.

It can be helpful to try to coordinate gifts with your ex so that you are not only ensuring there will be no gift repetition, but it could also help with promoting healthy co-parenting by encouraging communication. Maybe try to do joint gifts with your ex on gifts that are particularly expensive. Or, you can always try setting a financial limit on how much each parent will spend to avoid the competitive nature.

The Child’s Best Interest

Be sure to keep in mind what is in the best interest of your children. CPC, ELI-MP Relationship and Divorce Coach Carissa LoMonaco has a great quote, “don’t let your children get wet from your storm.” I love this quote because it embodies what a child can feel when their parents are going through a divorce. As we are all aware, separating from your partner can be quite the legal battle. As LoMonaco says, the trees are going to be falling down and it’s going to be raining hard…give your child an umbrella!

Kleyman Law Firm Attorney and Long Island Divorce Lawyer Ms. Zelenka recommends to create your own traditions, to make your holiday spent with your children special in it’s own way. By doing so, you allow your child to look forward to your day with them and create a positive experience.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s okay to feel sad during these times. Make sure you have an outlet for these feelings that isn’t in front of your children. Have a support system, even if it’s just a friend who will let you vent. It’s helpful to make a plan so that you are not sitting home alone thinking about what your child is doing. The old expression is, you need to put your oxygen mask on before someone else’s. Apply that here!

Please feel free to call the Kleyman Domestic Relations Law Firm to further discuss your matter, and to see if we are the right fit for you. It is always important to speak with a lawyer you trust to gain perspective on what your legal rights and obligations are. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. We are here to help you!

Long Island Divorce Lawyer, Jessical Zelenka, Esq, is an associate at the Kleyman Domestic Relations Law Firm, handling divorce and family law matters in New York. Val Kleyman is rated best divorce attorney New York by his peers and many other attorney rating organizations. The Kleyman Domestic Relations Law Firm is located at One Rockefeller Plaza, 11th Floor, New York, NY. For more info go to, email: or call 212-401-1977.

Related Posts