Going through a divorce during any season is traumatic. It is especially difficult for spouses and children during the holiday season, when so much attention is on spending time with family. During the winter holidays, parents are accustomed to taking family photos, spending time with relatives, sharing the joys of parenthood, reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new year. Children are often off from school for a week or more, and there are numerous holiday parties to attend.
Holiday suggestions to minimize the stress and disappointment of a changing family structure
Visiting family and spending time with your children is a big part of the holidays, and will likely cause stress and strain for a family that is going through a divorce. Here is some advice for spouses who will have to communicate during the holidays, despite being in the process of parting ways:
- Keep spousal disputes away from the children.
- Figure out all holiday activities in advance, so you and your spouse can agree on plans for where the children will be, and with whom.
- Respect the right of your spouse to spend time with the children.
- Determine who will stay in the marital home while the divorce is pending.
- Understand that your spouse may spend time with co-workers, family, and even new romantic interests.
- Review any short-term financial issues, so the children receive gifts that both parents want them to have. Avoid competing to give the children the more expensive gifts.
- Start some new holiday traditions just for you, the children, and other loved ones, such as your parents and siblings.
If you find that you will have more time alone this holiday season due to changes in your family, it is important to be sure to take care of yourself and your emotional wellbeing.
- Be aware of your feelings, and communicate them with others instead of drinking or overeating.
- Socialize with others to distract you from your difficulties, and to keep you focused on moving forward with your life.
- Find some time to be by yourself to reflect on you and your needs.
- Focus on the next year instead of travelling down memory lane.
- Find a way to help others, such as doing volunteer work, so you are not only focused on your situation.
Parents should communicate with their children about the challenges that are ahead. Let your children be honest with their emotions, which may include feelings of worry, guilt, and sadness.
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we understand how upsetting and lonely the holidays can be for spouses and children in the midst of a divorce. We work to resolve your family law matters justly and in a timely manner, so that when next year’s holiday season comes, everyone can feel stronger and happier. To discuss your divorce now, please call us at 615-412-1121 or contact us. We represent clients in Brentwood, Columbia, and Franklin.