Thanksgiving is difficult for parents following divorce because your dining room table certainly seems empty without your children if your current agreement or current co-parenting relationship doesn’t allow room to share the holiday in some way. If you’re following the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, the “custodial” parent enjoys this year’s holiday with the children. The Thanksgiving holiday under the Guidelines begins Wednesday at 6:00 pm and continues until Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
And while a lot of parents need to stick with the traditional “Guideline” Thanksgiving holiday, a lot of parents seem to be finding new, non-traditional ways to share the holiday. More and more families are willing to share the day itself- dividing an early lunch time celebration with a later-in-the-day dinner celebration; leaving your ever-hungry kids very happy and very full! Other families realize that if their Thanksgiving table is open for an extended family that extends all the way to inviting “weird Uncle Bruce” to dinner, then how difficult would it be to invite the Father of your children as well? It doesn’t make sense for everyone, but at least extending the invitation or sharing a meal with your children’s other parent one day out of the year takes a lot of stress out of your children’s lives, and reveals a healthier version of co-parenting and helps builds a stronger, happier, relationship that is truly focused on your kids.
If adding a seat at the table is a stretch too far for your family, trying to include the other parent in some way such as mentioning them in your “things you’re thankful for;” calling them so the kids can brag about all the food they ate; or making an extra “turkey hand” to display on the other parent’s refrigerator are ways to include them in a positive way that demonstrates to your kids that they are part of a loving and supportive family.
If you’d like to discuss some non-traditional holiday arrangements or how the Guidelines fit with your particular parenting plan, our family law team is here to help you. However you decide to celebrate, Beckman Lawson wishes you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Heidi K. Koeneman
Attorney at Law
Registered Family and Domestic Relations Mediator
Trained Collaborative Professional
Beckman Lawson, LLP
201 West Wayne Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802