Co-Parenting Successfully through the Holiday Season: 4 Tips to Consider

Dr. Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.
Dr. Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D.

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Client Reviews

  • “Not knowing the first thing about hiring an attorney for an unexpected personal situation, a friend referred me to William Conners. From the very beginning, I felt very confident he would make sure that all negotiations and decisions made would benefit me and my daughter. Will has been very professional and caring and I cannot thank him enough.”

    A. S.
  • ” William Conners represented me in my divorce which was complicated by the fact that my ex-wife and I owned several successful businesses together. I have used many attorneys in the past. Will’s performance was exemplary and many, many steps ahead in legal skill, strategy, preparation and sophistication. My goals were more than met (and then some) and I ended up with the businesses! I can wholeheartedly recommend him.”

    D.R.
  • “I was mired in a contentious divorce that had spiraled out of control through nightmarish claims that were chilling in their seriousness. While struggling to deal with the emotional turmoil of a marriage that was over, I was facing bleak options that realistically included losing my job, my children, and even my freedom. Through Mr. Conners’ skilled counsel I came through the nightmare with my family and my future intact – defeating the false charges, successfully resolving the marital dispute, and keeping custody of my children. I have no doubt that without his expert handling of my case things would have turned out very differently indeed, and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you for giving me back my future!”

    D. G.
  • “A few of the initial things that impressed me about Will and his staff were their accessibility, promptness in responding to my requests and thorough explanation of the answers to my questions. I appreciated Will’s approach to giving me options and recommendations, and then he let me have a say in the decisions regarding the direction of my divorce case. Throughout the process, Will’s priorities remained focused on preparing my case to win in court if a fair settlement could not be reached and minimizing financial consequences without expensive legal posturing. He was my expert legal counsel and a part-time coach that knew how to motivate me and help me get through it. Will and his staff genuinely cared about the emotional and financial toll that the divorce was exacting on me. Without hesitation, I recommend William Conners for his expertise in Family Law matters and his compassion for the person he represents.”

    C.K.
  • “My divorce featured all the most difficult aspects including a vindictive spouse willing to do and say anything to destroy me and exclude my role in our children’s lives. No matter how difficult the situation though, Will Conners provided devoted and professional representation. He took the time and interest to understand my dynamic and craft a strategy that unveiled my spouses’ false vendetta, preserved the relationship between me and my children and protected my financial interests. I count myself fortunate to have had Will as my attorney and wholeheartedly recommend him.”

    P.B.
  • “I came to see William R.F. Conners for a divorce and to work out custody issues for my 5 year old son. I was very impressed with my first and subsequent visits to see Mr. Conners. I always felt that kindness was a given, my case was given the attention and professionalism it deserved, with particular emphasis on the welfare of my son and the staff was always courteous and helpful. Mr. Conners worked very hard on my case and always returned my calls in a timely manner. I highly recommend William R.F. Conners to anyone who needs a lawyer who makes you feel like your case is the most important one that he has.”

    C.O.
  • “As a commercial airplane pilot, a clean driving record is essential to my career. When I was charged by a Virginia state trooper with misdemeanor Reckless Driving by speed on radar (90 mph in a 55 mph zone), I was facing potential jail time, huge fines and a suspension of my privilege to drive. If convicted, I would have had to report the conviction to the FAA and faced potential suspension of my pilot’s license. The stakes were high and I turned to Attorney William Conners for help. Attorney Conners used his knowledge of traffic law and regulations to fight for me at trial and we won with the charge being totally DISMISSED without my even having to testify! If you need legal representation for a serious traffic charge, call Attorney Conners and experience what it really means to have someone on your side.”

    L.A.
  • “Charged with a clear “no win” 3rd Felony DUI, I was facing a dark future. I was destined to be a felon with no right to drive for 10 years and a jail sentence of 6 months to 5 years! Add my life threatening health problems and the situation could not have been worse. However, my prayers were answered and Attorney Will Conners succeeded in getting the charge greatly reduced with minimal consequences. I served less than 1 day in jail after my court hearing which I consider a miracle. I am so grateful for Will’s intelligence, loyalty and kindness. He made a profound difference in my life and I will never forget what he did to help me.”

    S.A.
  • “I am extremely pleased that I chose William R. F. Conners as my attorney for my criminal case. After interviewing several Loudoun County attorneys, I found Mr. Conner’s fee to be by far the best, his personality to be friendly, and his accessibility to be superior. Most of all, Mr. Conners went above and beyond what I expected by putting in numerous unexpected hours and doing an astounding job arguing against the prosecutor. As a result of his hard work and courtroom savvy, my charge was reduced beyond what was expected. I highly recommend William Conners for any of your legal needs.”

    C. P.
  • “After I was involved in a terrible car accident, I had no idea what to do. How do I handle the insurance questions, medical bills, lost time from work? Knowing I couldn’t, and shouldn’t, take this task on myself, I found Mr. Conners law firm thru an internet search. Shortly after completing the on line questionnaire from his website, I received a phone call from Mr. Conners. He was very polite, offered to meet and discuss my case. At the first meeting he made me feel comfortable. Will was always very prompt to answer any questions I had, both email and when I called the office; we even talked on the weekends. I had total faith that he had my best interest in making decisions and recommendations needed to resolve my case. I would recommend his services to any of my friends and family. “

    T.M.
  • “As recent immigrants to the U.S. we have been completely unprepared for dealing with the consequences of obvious negligence my wife encountered during one fateful visit to her new OB/GYN doctor. It was only due to the timely interference of more competent physicians and sheer luck we have been able to avoid permanent damage to her health. On our friends’ recommendation we asked the “Law Office of William R. F. Conners, P.C” to take up our personal injury suit, and through all the stages the firm provided us with the top-rate legal advice. In the end it was solely thanks to their persistence and professionalism that we have been able to arrive to a mutually acceptable settlement of our case. Our special kudos go to Mr. William Conners for his sharp legal acumen and personal dedication.”

    A.C. & I.C.
  • “The injuries I suffered in a car crash were severe and permanent. The extent to which Will prepared my case was extraordinary. Will Conners is the lawyer to call if you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision and suffered personal injury.”

    W.E.
  • “How do you thank someone who took a very frustrating situation and turned it into success! Even after being threatened with a “Contempt of Court” citation my ex-husband stopped support payments. I was told I could garnish his social security payments but that led to one phone call after another to government offices and no solution. I finally found Will and he told me to stop worrying that he would take care of everything. He did just that by following through and taking my ex to court. After back-and-forth coversations I received all of my past due support payments plus attorney’s fees and court costs without going before a judge. There aren’t enough thanks or praise for such a dedicated and caring attorney.”

    D.R.
  • “Will handled my family law case in the 2009-2011 time frame, and was instrumental in helping me achieve a desired result – and avoiding costly litigation. He was very familiar with law specifically applicable to my case, and was highly familiar with the opposing counsels tactics & tendencies. Will managed my case efficieintly and also helped me to do much of my own documentation (hence saving costs). I would be happy to recommend him in the area of family law. He’s a highly ethical counselor, with excellent knowledge of applicable law to divorce cases, and provided me good guidance on my case. Highly recommend.”

    J. C.
  • Nowadays, it is somewhat of a challenge to go through life without the need of an attorney. Should the need arise for a competent attorney to handle one’s legal affairs, I strongly recommend Will Conners. Will has handled a few of our family cases, including personal injury, family law and business transactions. His competency level in handling our cases was above and beyond any other attorney’s I have seen. Will has an extremely keen eye for details and always puts the client’s interest on a priority level. In a nutshell, Will is THE attorney our family turns to when any need arises for legal advice or representation. I would highly recommend Will. In my humble opinion, he is the best!”

    A. H.
  • I hired Will to represent me in a difficult divorce case. He did an absolute excellent job making sure my interests were looked after. It was a difficult time for me with an wife that had some personal issues. In the end Will made sure I did what needed to be done to protect myself but showed compassion for the woman I was divorcing without ever sacrificing my personal interests. I would employ his services again for any legal issues, which I hope there will be none, in a heartbeat!!! Rating would be 4.5 “

    K.A.
  • Attorney Will Connors helped me in filing an accident lawsuit against a drunk driver. Although it took a while for Will and his staff to reach the settlement which I desired, they were with me and my case every step of the way, keeping me fully informed and in the loop on every step of the process. They were most professional in every way, and I am one hundred percent pleased at having chosen Will to be my attorney on this issue. I would recommend Will and his firm without reservation.”

    T.P.
  •  Will has been a pleasure to work with during a difficult child custody battle. He has been almost always available, always on top of circumstances, provided very good counsel, quickly assimilated my issues without excessive dialogue and exhibited great flexibility under changing circumstances. While legal services don’t come cheap, his ability to quickly comprehend my issues probably netted a savings.”

    J.A.
  • Will Conners has been my lawyer for several years and has guided me through some difficult family law situations that occurred as a result of a divorce. His patience and ability to schedule and meet appointments and court appearances have been amazing. He was even able to formulate a plan to handle the final details of my case which is proving to be the best course of action. He has always been there for me when I needed him.”

    D.A.
  • I hired Will to represent me in an arduous divorce case knotted with a complicated financial scenario, and troublesome spousal support battle. Will and his staff’s unending commitment, and patience quickly sorted through my retired military and executive careers, disabled veteran entitlements, and the best interest of the children amidst an emotionally overbearing ex-spouse. My case rapidly spiraled from separation to divorce in under one year. His steadfast professionalism and goodness guided me through a toxic situation that protects both my finances and the children. I can’t thank Will and his staff enough.
    V.M.

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Notice: The client quotations above are not to be construed to guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by any attorney of the Law Office of William R.F. Conners, P.C. Each case result depends upon a variety of factors unique to each case and client.

Fall has arrived and so too has the holiday season. This is generally a time for families to come together; to be joyful and thankful and to celebrate with kindness and love. But for many divorced families, the holidays can be a stressful and challenging time. “I love Halloween, but I can’t stand sharing it with my ex-husband” and “I don’t like that my kids hate going to their father’s for Thanksgiving, but what can I do, this is his year” and “Great, so now I am supposed to put a smile on my face for the kids with my ex-wife’s new boyfriend at Christmas” are just a few of the comments stated by some my divorced patients already this year.

And while I fully appreciate the difficult struggles many divorced couples deal with, I encourage my divorced patients who remain in high conflict co-parenting relationships to remember that their children’s adjustment and emotional wellbeing should be what is most important – and not just during holidays, but across the entire year.

I offer the following co-parenting tips for divorced couples this holiday season:

Know your bandwidth: If you are currently in a high conflict relationship with your ex-husband or ex-wife, your capacity to get along over the holidays will be more limited than if you are in a respectful and loving relationship with your ex. While some divorced couples are able to trick-or-treat together with their children or trade off mid night on Halloween, other divorced couples do not have enough respect and agreement to do so. Holidays for this latter group are typically best managed separately to decrease or avoid problems for the involved children. Knowing what you can and cannot give of yourself in relation to your ex should dictate how actively you co-parent your children during holiday events and activities.

Plan ahead and communicate things clearly: Planning ahead and communicating are essential ingredients for a strong and successful co-parenting relationship. This is important for divorced couples who are in a state of high conflict since strong, negative emotions can contribute to defensive communication that can escalate into bad moments. Planning ahead and communicating about things clearly is even important for divorced couples who get along well since living separate lives can lead to assumptions and misunderstandings. For example, a patient of mine from several years ago made very expensive travel arrangements for her children and herself for the Christmas week. Unfortunately, her ex-husband had done the same thing. In the end, there were several non-refundable tickets and hotel reservations for one parent, and all of this could have been avoided with better planning and communication.

Keep or create new family traditions: Some families are able to continue their holiday traditions after divorce, and this can be very healthy. For instance, divorced couples of very young children may wish to be together on Christmas Morning when gifts are being opened under the tree. This co-parenting moment can serve to give younger children the predictability, consistency and closeness that they have always experienced and known with their parents. Thus, listening to your children, or at least considering their needs (developmental and emotional) is a good idea when planning for the holidays as a divorced couple. Most families, however, create new family traditions, which can also be very healthy. Volunteering, running a 5K, visiting a specific destination annually or visiting extended family are some ideas that can feel good and become the new normal for your children over time.

Practice Kindness: Children can be very aware of how their parents feel about each other so be mindful of what you say to your ex and how you behave with him or her in the presence of your children. For couples who co-parent actively and with little trouble, practicing kindness is easier to do than for couples who have a more complicated history with ongoing struggles. Regardless of whether you co-parent actively or you co-parent in the minimum due to your situation, remember that children learn some of their most important life lessons from their parents, including how to have a loving relationship with a significant other.

Although children of divorced parents live in two separate homes, it should always be the goal of divorced parents to create two happy homes for their children. And children should always experience their parents as being together for them as mom and dad – especially during important moments. When working with divorced parents in high conflict relationships, I remind them to keep things in perspective; that they will very likely be attending their children’s graduations and weddings and their children need them to be there fully for them. When divorced parents can move beyond their upset and instead demonstrate respect and practice kindness in the presence of their children, they are teaching their children how to love and how to be in a relationship. The holidays with your children can create opportunities for you to be mindful of how you are at transitions with your children and how you are (and want to be) together with your children as a divorced family.

By: Dr. Michael Oberschneider, Founder and Director of Ashburn Psychological and Psychiatric Services. To learn more about Dr. Oberschneider and his practice, we invite you to visit: www.ashburnpsych.com or call: (703) 723-2999.

The Law Office of William R.F. Conners, P.C. in Leesburg, Virginia serves the cities of Chantilly, Fairfax, Herndon, Leesburg, Middleburg, Reston, and Vienna, Sterling, Ashburn and Purcellville, as well as all communities in Loudoun County and Fairfax County, Virginia.