The Chicago Family Law Blog

Three Ideas for Surviving Thanksgiving with Shared Custody

Holidays are a tough time for divorced families. The magic of a holiday is spending time with your loved ones. This is inherently more difficult when you have two separate families.

When custody battles get bitter and nasty, they often end up in a court-ordered settlement that splits holidays and vacation times between the parents. Mom gets Thanksgiving, Dad gets Diwali, and next year, you switch. But for more accommodating ex-spouses, here are a few other possibilities:

Turkey for Breakfast, Turkey for Dessert

How about two Thanksgivings in one day? Sure, that's a lot of food, but having an early brunch Thanksgiving and a late evening dinner Thanksgiving can allow both families to celebrate, as a whole, on the proper day. Just remember to remind the kids to engage in portion control - otherwise, they won't eat Aunt Reyna's green beans and Thanksgiving will be ruined ... RUINED!

Thanksgiving in July, or on Wednesday

Who says Thanksgiving has to be on Thursday. Sure, it's tradition, but it's not exactly a religious holiday. For Christians, rescheduling Christmas might not be an option. But Thanksgiving? We're operating on a tradition based on some alleged pilgrim and Native American feast that happened hundreds of years ago. Why not have two Thanksgivings? Or celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, which happened back in October.

Come Together, Right Now, Over Me

No, not over your dead body! And your ex will not pry that turkey from your cold, dead, hands. The divorce is done. It's time to move on. If you and your ex-spouse can sit together for a meal, perhaps a holiday is the time to begin working on a cooperative relationship.

After all, you have many years of child-rearing and co-parenting ahead of you. Start the peacemaking process next week. How about working these ideas into your custody schedule or parenting plan?

Forging a more cooperative relationship with your ex-spouse will reduce the need for exorbitant court costs and legal fees when fighting over who gets little Jimmy for next year's National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

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