The holidays can be some of the most wonderful times of the year, but for exes with kids — celebrities included — they can also be some of the trickiest.
“Celebrities are no different than the ‘average Joe’ when it comes to wanting to spend quality time with their children, particularly during the holidays,” legal expert Julie Rendelman tells ET. “A divorce or separation complicates the issue and can lead to heightened emotions in their quest to be with the children.”
With more bombshell Hollywood splits this year, new celebrity exes are having to learn how to divvy up time with their youngsters. So what exactly does splitting custody during the holidays entail?
“There are several options for parents looking to resolve custody issues surrounding the holidays. The most common solution is to alternate holidays,” Rendelman says. “For example, in any given year, one parent has the children for Thanksgiving while the other parent has the children during Christmas. Each subsequent year, they would then alternate holidays.”
Another idea? “Parents can even choose to celebrate any particular holiday twice,” Rendelman says. “If parents approach this option positively, the children may actually enjoy the idea of getting two Christmases or two birthdays!”
If geography allows, there’s also the option to split up time on the day itself. “For example, one parent could have the children for Christmas Day,” Rendelman says, “the other parent for Christmas Eve.”
Of course, an amicable relationship between exes doesn’t hurt, including during the holidays. “Keep in mind that parents who have a good relationship despite the breakup are likely to have more flexibility in when and how they see the children,” Rendelman notes. “It is not unusual, in fact, for children of an amicable divorce to continue to spend the holidays with both parents together, showing the kids that, despite the breakup, they are still a family.”
However, it’s not always so harmonious. “Sadly, conflicts in custody around the holidays are not uncommon, particularly as this is the time when parents may want to travel with their children and see family members who they have not seen throughout the year,” Rendelman says.
And if celeb parents can’t make it work? According to Rendelman, “If they simply cannot resolve the issue, however, they may have to put the decision in the hands of a mediator or the court itself.”
“The easiest way for parents to approach the holidays,” the Law Offices of Julie Rendelman attorney tells ET, “is to do their best to work together, to set aside their own emotions and show their children their needs and their happiness comes before the parents.”