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News | December 15, 2023
3 minute read

Warner Family Law Attorney Ric Roane Talks with WOOD TV About Divorced Parents and the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time for families, especially when the parents are separated or divorced. It doesn’t have to be that way with some planning and leaning into a simple lesson from kindergarten.

“For divorced parents, it’s important to step back, set aside the heartache and blame that broke down the marriage and do what’s best for the kids,” Warner family law attorney Ric Roane shared with WOOD TV. “Simply put, divorced parents need to use a basic principle we all learned as children: share.

“Parents don’t like to give up holiday traditions. They’re used to being with their children 100% of the time and want to hold on to the excitement of opening gifts on Christmas morning or gathering with extended family for dinner at grandma’s. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing when friends and loved ones ask where the kids are, stirring emotions about what led to divorce in the first place.”

Roane leans into Robert Fulghum’s bestselling book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” when helping clients navigate divorce and the holidays. He points to child psychologists, researchers and many others who tell us children need both parents, meaning learning to share time is best for the kids’ well-being.

Roane says any divorce conversation should include a plan for the holidays – whether it’s an every-other-year scenario, mom’s home for Christmas Eve and dad’s place for Christmas Day or some other arrangement. This will help keep children at the center and minimize bah humbug moments for everyone involved.

He offers other tips for how separated or divorced parents can navigate the holidays:

  • Be sensitive to your child’s desires and expectations. While that doesn’t mean the child gets to run the family, it’s important to listen to what kids want to do during their holiday break – hanging out with friends, playing sports, etc. – instead of always pushing the activities you want to do.
  • Co-create a plan for gifts. Roane recalls a divorcing couple he worked with who set up a joint bank account that each of them still contribute to monthly based on individual financial ability. The account is used to buy Christmas and birthday gifts for the children, as well as to pay for extracurricular expenses such as sports fees. “This helps the parents avoid constant fights about bills and eliminates a situation where one parent is buying more expensive gifts for the kids,” Roane notes. “All the gifts are from mom and dad rather than these over here are from one parent and those over there from the other parent. This enables the children to see their parents are still cooperating.”
  • If it’s not your parenting time, accept an invitation to a friend’s holiday party, get away for the weekend or enjoy a staycation at a local hotel. “The holidays are a great time to take advantage of lower hotel rates in Chicago, Detroit or Traverse City – just to name a few places,” Roane says. “If getting away is not in the budget, volunteer at a local food pantry or look for another way to give your time and energy so you’re focusing on other things instead of missing your kids.”

Watch Roane’s full WOOD TV interview here.

About Warner

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