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Don’t let gift buying turn into a competition this Christmas

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2023 | family law |

Some people treat gift buying as a competitive sport. It can be a particular problem after parents divorce.

Maybe one parent attempts to outdo the other to make them look bad in front of their child. Maybe they do it to win favor with their child. Or perhaps it’s an attempt to compensate for the guilt they feel for doing something that led to the breakup of the marriage and the suffering that has caused their child. 

It might not even be a competitive thing. It might just be one parent has more to spend than the other because they have a better-paid job. Regardless of the reason for it all, unequal gift buying can cause problems.

Setting a budget beforehand is one option

For instance, you and your co-parent can each agree to spend no more than $80 on your child’s present this year, or whatever you deem appropriate and fair.

Going in together is another

If you want to buy your child something costly, consider buying it with your ex, as a present from both of you. Not only can this save your budgets, but it can present an important show of unity and reassure your child you can still work together for their benefit

Sometimes, an explanation is all that is needed

You do not need to seek parity. If you earn less than your spouse, that will likely continue long beyond this Christmas. Even if your child does not understand your different financial realities now, they will eventually, especially if you take the time to explain it to them.

Demonstrating you are happy for them to receive a better present from their other parent. Or that you do not look down on the other parent for buying a less expensive present can help your child enjoy both your gifts. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them that money is not everything.

Learning more about how to keep your divorce amicable increases the chances that you and your co-parent can work together to form an effective co-parenting team that handles things such as gift-giving with grace.