When you choose (or they choose) to no longer be married to your spouse, and you have children together, the Holiday season is always going to be a time of desperation. What Texas divorce attorney’s rarely share with their clients is this – there are no good answers for Holiday possession time of the children; there are no solutions. In Texas, under the Standard Possession Schedule, each parent has alternating periods of Christmas possession. One parent has the children the first day they are released from school until December 28 at noon, at which time, the other parent takes possession until the children return to school (typically January 3rd or so). This is especially difficult if you have young children whose hearts are still a sway to concept of Santa Clause and Christmas morning. Each year, one parent gets the joy of Christmas morning and one does not.
The average age when a child stops believing in Santa Clause is 8 years old. Therefore, if you are divorced and only have your children for Christmas morning every other Christmas and your child is 3 years old, you have about 2 or 3 more chances at the enchantment of Santa Clause. It isn’t uplifting, is it?
The Christmas season is always difficult, even without the division of time. Parents rushing around, trying to finish last minute shopping, enduring long lines, late delivery of on-line purchases, and your ex-spouse. Add it all up and you are in for a unique period of stress and anxiety.
The majority of divorcing parents that I deal with are shocked when they see the division of Christmas time and it creates immediate fear and rejection of the Standard Possession concept. I carefully explain that I too have been searching for a better solution to this problem, but have yet to come up with anything that makes both parents satisfied. No other period of possession creates such a rush of rejection by divorcing couples. There is a certain magic about Christmas and very often a strong bond that adults relate to their Christmas experience.
I encourage my clients to recognize that old traditions are now over and it is time to forge forward with new traditions. To create something that the children can look forward to, whether in years where they have Christmas morning possession or in years when they don’t. Make it unique the first time, and then repeat it. Make it memorable; put your soul into it.
Childhood is the most wondrous of all of life’s seasons, yet it is a promise that cannot be kept. Children often don’t remember a great deal of their childhood, but I can assure you that what they do remember, they remember for all time. Regardless of what your ex-spouse does or doesn’t do, make a commitment to make great memories, because great memories are designed to last.
Chad D. Elsey