How to Have a Peaceful Thanksgiving When you Share Custody – by Kristen Anders Bojarski, Esquire

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I love this time of year.  While Christmas is my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving is wonderful too.   It is a time to take a step back and reflect on everything we have to be thankful for.  I am thankful for my husband who understands me better than anyone.  I am thankful for my two fur-kids (although they are not thankful for each other).  I am thankful for my parents and my two sisters, all of whom I am very close with.  I am thankful that I have the type of friends who would drop everything in case I needed them.  I am very thankful and so fortunate to have three wonderful grandparents still living.  I am thankful to be a part of a profession that makes me proud.  I am thankful that my mother and my in-laws do most of the Thanksgiving cooking!


As a child custody lawyer, my message to you this Thanksgiving is to step back and reflect on all of the things that you have to be thankful for.  Look at the positive side of things for once.  Although you and your ex did not work out, he or she was a part of creating the children that you have together.    When dealing with an ex that you hate, it can be hard to feel anything but anger towards them.  This Thanksgiving, set side your anger and be grateful that if nothing else, you have beautiful children together.

Be Respectful

When exchanging custody, be respectful and follow the custody order that you have in place.  If you have no custody order, then abide by the terms of the verbal agreement you both have hopefully agreed to by now.  At the same time, be flexible.  If you and your ex split the Thanksgiving holiday, and your ex is running a little late for the exchange, don’t give them a hard time about it.

Be Gracious

If your ex is remarried, be thankful that your child has another person taking on a parental role.  You will never be replaced as the child’s parent, so put aside your jealousy and be thankful that your children have another person to love them and take care of them, and that you have another person who is willing to take on some childcare responsibilities.

Be Thankful

Show your children that you are thankful for their other parent and stepparent.  It would mean the world to them.  It is an enormous burden for children, especially at holidays, to have to worry about hurting their parent’s feelings by loving the other parent or stepparent.  Give them a break.  If you show that not all your feelings towards your ex are hateful, and that you are thankful for them, it relieves a lot of pressure.

Teach Your Children to Be Thankful

Finally, teach your children to be thankful.  In this society, so many people have a sense of entitlement, especially children. When they go out into the real world, it is a shock when they come to realize that nothing is going to be handed to them.  If children appreciate what their parents provide for them (whether it is a lot or a little) and they are taught to value relationships with people rather than things, chances are they will be happy, productive members of society.

Thank you, friends, for taking the time to read my Thanksgiving message.  While you are dealing with the hustle and bustle of the holiday, and dealing with an ex, just remember to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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