'Tis the season – for celebrating and for presents. This time of year, in addition, to coming up with plans for how to spend and share the holidays, divorcing parents often need to negotiate gift-giving for their kids.
At Westfield Mediation, LLC,we discuss with our divorce mediation clients their plans for giving presents to their children. For holidays and birthdays, it is important for divorced parents to work together so that they do not buy duplicate gifts and/or one parent (or the Santa that visits that parent's home) is not noticeably more generous than the other. To create some sense of equivalency, in some families, the parents decide on a monetary limit for each gift or a maximum for total purchases. In others, they exchange their planned lists so that each parent is in the loop. Setting these kinds of limits in advance and then sticking to them is an essential part of the trust-building that parents need to do to co-parent successfully after divorce.
In divorce mediation, we also make plans for purchasing the gifts that the children bring to other kids' parties. Attending children's parties is a significant part of a child's social development, and the parents need to create a plan for sharing the responsibility of buying gifts, as well as the financial burden of paying for them. By covering these day-to-day issues in advance in divorce mediation, we reduce the possibility of arguments later on.