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Money is often a sore spot with divorced parents–especially if there is not much to go around. But this holiday season, don’t let finances spoil your child’s holiday cheer. Here are some things to keep in mind so that your child and family can make the most of the season with love.

We’re Broke and it’s His/Her Fault

Naughty: Put a naughty twist on the holidays by telling your child that you pay so much in child support and/or spousal maintenance that you don’t have any money to buy the gifts they want. Or, conversely, tell your child that the other parent doesn’t pay their support the way they’re supposed to, so the holidays just won’t be what they used to be.

The message to your child is that the other parent is responsible for ruining his or her life (and yours), and implying that your child should be as angry as you are, and take sides.
“Sometimes mommies and daddies aren’t able to buy everything on your wish list, but we’re going to have a wonderful holiday together.” Or, if funds are tight, try being a real grown-up and pooling resources with your ex-spouse on that one gift your child really wants that neither of you can afford on your own.

Don’t fight about at whose house the toy will be presented. Maybe you can both give it to the child together at the holiday parenting exchange. Your child will appreciate the two of you acting like adults. You should also consult with your former spouse regarding which items on your child’s wish list each of you will purchase so that your child’s is fulfilled with no duplication or one-upsmanship.

Finally, a naughty/nice experience from my own life. When my daughter was young, she went to visit her father out of state for Christmas. I had confided in him that “Santa” was bringing her first “big-girl’s” bicycle that year. I was surprised when she called me on Christmas and told me that she knew she was getting a bike from me. Naughty or nice? You decide. But remember, it’s up to you to determine the type of holiday your special little ones experience this year. Make it NICE!

Contact us at Hallier Stearns PLC for more information about divorce and child custody issues.