Holland & Usry October 2017

Co-Parenting During the Holidays THE IMPORTANCE OF PUTTING KIDS FIRST

ith October arriving, it’s hard to believe that the holiday season is just over the horizon. The holidays are a joyous time, but they can

spouse. Kids having a good relationship with Mom benefits Dad, and vice versa.

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also be stressful, especially if you’re trying to hash out co-parenting responsibilities. I work on a lot of family law cases, and how holidays will be handled is always a talking point. With open dialogue and an eye toward compromise, I firmly believe you can create a plan that honors traditions and works for both parents. Most importantly, it needs to work for the kids.

Every study I’ve ever read stresses the importance of letting both parents have access to the kids over the holidays. Obviously, you should honor family traditions, but you have to be cognizant of the needs of both parties. If proximity isn’t an issue, you can arrange for holidays and holiday weekends to be split among parents. Alternating is another option. Every case is different, but what matters most is a solution that doesn’t engender animosity between parties. If you spend time badmouthing the other parent to your children over the holiday season, it can be devastating for them. Now, I understand that you want your children to have the best holiday season possible. Thanksgiving and Christmas in particular really matter to kids, and you feel pressure to deliver a great experience. But I’m guessing your co-parent wants to do the exact same thing. If you’re at odds with each other, you’ll both end up failing. Kids are smart, and they can sense anger and resentment just as well as adults can. These are not easy issues to talk about, especially when they are new. You may have spent last year eating turkey and opening presents together, and all of a sudden you have to create a new plan. No matter how stressed out you feel, however, you can’t let it affect the little ones that you are raising together. The kids should always be at the top of the food chain. With Halloween just around the corner, I want to take the time to wish everyone reading this a wonderful holiday season. I’m looking forward to seeing Spartanburg come together for a festive few months. I hope that no matter what your family situation is, you can create a memorable holiday for your loved ones. Family is the most important thing, and as I’ve gotten older, that’s become even more apparent to me.

The way I see it, family law cases are basically two different cases happening simultaneously. The first one involves the splitting of assets between Mom and Dad. The second — and more crucial — one involves dealing with the kids. No matter how contentious the first case gets, you cannot let it trickle down into the second. Every parent wants what’s best for their kids, but it can be hard to be selfless with these matters.

Look, this may sound harsh, but you have to remember that your kids are not exclusively yours. Everyone knows that you need to put your kids first, but acting it out during a divorce is another matter. Divorce is hard on kids, but it becomes a whole lot harder when you create opposition between children and their other parent. Even if your relationship has ended, that doesn’t mean you can’t be polite and courteous with your former

Kids having a good relationship with Mom benefits Dad, and vice versa.

– Bob Holland 864.582.0416

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