Unfortunately, for many divorced families, the holidays can be a stressful and emotional time. The joyfulness of the holidays can be replaced with feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness…not only for parents, but for their children as well.
The holidays are a busy time for family law attorneys, with parents often butting heads over holiday plans, visitation schedules, winter vacations, out-of-town travel, family events…the list goes on and on.
Keep these tips in mind to decrease not only the anxiety surrounding the holidays, but hopefully your lawyer bills as well:
- Plan Ahead. If you haven’t looked at that Parenting Plan in a while, now may be a good time. Make sure you understand what the plan provides in terms of the holidays and winter vacations. If you and your ex-spouse are on good terms, do you need to have any discussions about times/days of visitation and make any adjustments? More stress is added when these things are addressed at the last minute. If you’re not on good terms, send a confirmation email to your ex-spouse confirming your understanding of the Parenting Plan. If there is going to be a problem, better to find this out early.
- Inform Your Children. Let your children know well in advance what the plans are for the holidays and where they will be for which days. Make sure you have confirmed the schedule with your ex-spouse first to help alleviate any issues. Children do better when there are no surprises.
- Be Flexible. Because out-of-town visitors cannot control their travel arrangements, last-minute changes may arise. It’s important to be flexible and accommodating. Helping to encourage your children’s relationships with all family members is in their best interests.
- Stay Positive. Keeping a positive attitude even though you are anxious and sad about not spending all of the holiday time with your children will help lessen any anxiousness your children feel. Your children shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for enjoying spending time with the other parent’s family. Encourage your child to tell you about the fun time they had with your ex-spouse and the presents they receive. Remember, holidays are supposed to be fun. Keep in mind that holiday blues are inevitable and, if necessary, seek support from family and friends, not your children.
- Create New Traditions. Your children may be feeling sad that old traditions are not followed anymore, e.g., going to your ex-spouse’s parents’ house for Christmas Eve. Create new traditions the children can participate in and enjoy.
Being prepared for the holidays well in advance can really cut down on any unnecessary arguing, potentially reduce attorney’s fees, and help ensure everyone has a great holiday season.
At Raza Family Law Solutions, we practice family law effectively guiding clients through dissolution of marriage, modifications of prior judgments, and resolving child custody disputes. We also help families take a different approach to divorce with mediation and collaborative work. Contact us for a consultation at (314) 314-5505.