How to Navigate the Holidays After Divorce

Whether it is your first holiday season since your divorce or your tenth, getting through this time of year alone is difficult, especially if children are involved. It is a tough time for a number of reasons, as your divorce is inevitably going to be brought up by family or simply thought about by you. The holiday season magnifies depressing issues surrounding your separation, divorce, and loss and you may just feel overwhelmed and unwilling to face it.  However, there are a few things to keep in mind, which will make it a more positive experience and one that you will begin looking forward to again.

1. Do Something for Yourself

Being divorced gives you the opportunity to focus on yourself, and if you have children, on them too.  You should take time to try and better yourself, whether it be through relaxation or spending time with your favorite hobby and your friends. The holidays are also a perfect time to give back to the community by spending free time volunteering at places such as animal shelters, soup kitchens, and participating in other community activities. Doing so will shift your attention from your divorce to much more positive aspects of your life. That being said, whatever you end up doing for yourself this holiday season, it is also important to stay positive during this time, not look for sympathy, and continue being a role model for your kids.

2. Focus on Your Kids

It may go without saying, but the holidays can be a particularly difficult time for your children, as well.  Depending on their age, they may be looking to keep family traditions alive, such as opening gifts together or simply sitting down for a family meal, even when they are going back and forth between two houses during the holidays. This may seem terribly difficult, if not impossible, especially with an ex-spouse who you do not get along with, but it is important to try and keep a level of stability with your children and have them be excited for the holiday season.

If being friends with your ex-spouse is simply out of the question to have your, then it is just as important to try and build new traditions with your kids. With young children, you may want to start a tradition of making Christmas tree ornaments together or, if your kids are older, simply ask them for some input on what would make their holidays season unique and special each year. However, you should never try and “out-do” your ex-spouse during the holidays by buying your kids more gifts or doing extravagant things, especially if you know that your ex-spouse could not financially afford to do the same.

3. Be Sure to Double Check your Custody Arrangement

As part of many divorces, divorce lawyers typically help you to create an agreed-upon custody schedule for your children, making note of all major holidays. A Court Order will usually address these major holidays, as well. These schedules typically alternate these holidays between you and your ex-spouse each year to ensure that children get equal holidays with both parents. As such, it is important for you to double check the specific dates and times that your kids are to be with you and when they are supposed to be with your ex-spouse. Experienced divorce lawyers in PA always recommend reviewing your custody schedule not only with your kids and ex-spouse, but with your attorney, as it could save you time, money, and stress in the long-run. Making sure that everyone is on the same page goes a long way to ensure the holidays are as stress-free as possible.

Divorce is rarely easy and it is even harder during the holiday season. If you are facing a difficult holiday season, don’t give up! Doing things for yourself and focusing on your children will help to ease the pain and keep the holidays a happy time for everyone. However, with the help of experienced divorce lawyers, it can be much less stressful for you and your children.  Attorneys are familiar with the emotions that come with a divorce and are able to provide counseling and advice during the holidays in addition to providing effective legal representation.

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