The holidays are approaching, but if you are going through a divorce, it may not be a time of cheerful anticipation. However, with some preparation, you can approach the holidays with confidence. Here are some ways to prepare.
The holiday season will be challenging if you are going through a divorce, but it will be even more challenging if you do not prepare mentally for the time. Things will be different, so you will want to set your expectations realistically, so you are not disappointed. Even if you think you are not upset about the divorce, the sentimental holiday times may bring up some residual feelings. Furthermore, negotiating with your former partner about custody or visitation arrangements may cause some anger or negative feelings within that relationship.
Try to keep in mind that you want to do what is best for your children and channel any negative feelings into providing them with a fun and unique holiday season. When you feel strong emotions arising, take a moment to shift your perspective back to your children and their best interests. Be prepared to make some compromises for the best possible holiday season for your kids.
Also, keep in mind that if you are experiencing big emotions brought on by the new look of the holidays, your kids probably are too. You can encourage them to express their feelings and assure them that your emotions are not their fault and will not change how you react to them.
The holiday season is one time where the typical custody and visitation schedule may not work. School is closed, and both parents may want to travel to see extended family or friends during this season. If your existing custody arrangement does not address the holiday schedule, make sure to fix this ahead of time and involve your attorney if necessary. You will want to begin this process long before the holiday season starts so that neither parent feels blindsided nor has their expectations disappointed.
You and your children are not the only ones who may have expectations for the holiday season. Grandparents, cousins, and new spouses or stepchildren all may have an idea about how the holiday season should look. Not everyone will be 100% satisfied if you are splitting parenting time with an ex-partner during this time. Ensure that extended family, other relatives, and anyone else you usually see during the holiday season is prepared for when they will see your children and when your children will be with your co-parent.
You may also want to set boundaries on what is appropriate to be said in front of your children. You and your former partner may not be telling your kids everything that led to your separation or the details of your divorce arrangement. Make sure that those around you who are privy to those details do not divulge them either. You may also set boundaries on any bad-mouthing of your co-parent. While your relatives may want to commiserate with you about his or her bad behavior, you do not want this kind of talk disrupting your child’s special holiday season.
Prepare New Traditions
Likely, you will not have parental responsibility for your children for the entirety of the holiday season. This may mean that you miss out on some of your typical holiday traditions. Instead of despairing about this loss, why not take the opportunity to be creative with new traditions?
There is no rule stating that you have to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas on the same day as everyone else. You can make unforgettable memories with your children by coming up with new practices and ways to mark the holiday season’s special days.
This is also true for the times that you find yourself alone during the holidays. In previous years, you focused all of your energy on your children, but now you may have some free time for yourself. Try to figure out what would make you the happiest in the times without your children, whether that is shopping or going to a movie alone, indulging in some holiday baking (and eating), or visiting family and friends. This childless time can be excellent for your own self-care.
If you need assistance making or revisiting a custody agreement before the holidays this year, contact the Law Office of David A. King, P.C. Our attorneys are knowledgeable and skilled in custody arrangements and can help make this holiday season a little merrier.