Planning for holidays as mixed-faith divorced parents

Making holiday plans this time of year can be stressful for all divorced parents. However, when you and your ex are of different religious faiths, the process can be even more challenging and fraught with conflict.

If the two of you never discussed which faith your children would be raised in and what religious holidays they would celebrate, that discussion may be more difficult now -- particularly if your post-divorce relationship isn't amicable.

Important holidays and special days like birthdays should always be addressed in your child custody agreement and parenting plan in order to help them go more smoothly for everyone. That includes holidays that one of you may celebrate (such as Jewish holidays), but not the other.

When negotiating their custody agreement, mixed-faith parents should not only be prepared to discuss all of the holidays that they want to celebrate with their kids, but what traditions of these religious holidays will be practiced. Of course, this may have to be part of a larger discussion of what kind of religious training their children will have.

Many parents continue to involve their children in religious practices of both faiths after divorce. As one interfaith education program official here in New York notes, "Kids can handle a multiplicity of identities and, in a recent survey of children and young adults raised in interfaith families, almost 90 percent said they were not confused by practicing more than one religion. Rather, they find it has more advantages than disadvantages."

The important thing, whether you and your co-parent celebrate the same holidays or not, is to make them a time of joy and not one of dread and confusion for your kids. You can help do this by planning ahead for the holiday season with your co-parent. Don't make your child feel guilty for spending time or enjoying a special celebration with your ex.

If you can work out these issues during the divorce with the help of your attorneys, you'll have less chance of conflicts arising later on, and you and your kids can simply enjoy the season.

Source:, "Experts: Divorcing parents need to plan holiday celebrations," Susan Peck, Dec. 03, 2017

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