While many families start to decorate and prepare for the holidays, some are left wondering how to gear up for the celebrations after a recent divorce. It is common to have feelings of uncertainty regarding what to expect your first holiday season after a divorce. You may be wondering how visitation works or how to split holiday time in a manner that is fair for both parents and the child. Fortunately, we have compiled a list of helpful tips for you to reference this holiday season to hopefully give you some peace of mind as you navigate this time.
CREATE A HOLIDAY PLAN & ADHERE TO IT
In many co-parenting situations during the holidays, a holiday plan is something that will have been put in place long before the celebrations hit. It is a part of a parenting agreement that is established during the dissolution process to avoid any disputes and/or tension during the holidays. If you and your ex-spouse did not create a holiday plan, it is advisable to seek out legal counsel to help you establish one as soon as possible. Some aspects you may want to consider when drafting a holiday plan include:
- Which parent the child(ren) will spend the holidays with (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.)
- Whether you would like to split, share, or divide the holidays with your ex-spouse and child(ren) and how this will work
- Which holiday traditions and festivities each parent will be responsible for
- Whether any holiday traditions can be done as a family (for example picking pumpkins or baking pie on Christmas eve)
- Which parent will pick the child(ren) up and drop the child off
MAKE NEW TRADITIONS
It may not be possible to continue all the traditions you kept going as a family, but that does not mean you cannot make new ones. Talk to your kid(s) about what is important to them this holiday season and what they would like to do. Doing so will keep the lines of communication open so you can answer any questions they might have about the holidays moving forward. If you can, speak with your ex-spouse and your child(ren) about traditions you would like to keep and new ones you would like to create. If possible, see if you can compromise and do some of those activities together.
LET GO OF THE IDEA THAT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE PERFECT
Have you ever thought “this could ruin the holidays” or “I can’t do that because I have to make sure everything is perfect for Christmas?” Instead of aiming for perfection this holiday season, cut yourself some slack and do the best you can. Think about creating new memories with your child(ren) and do not stress over the little details.
You may find yourself more emotional during the holidays this year, so be kind to yourself. Try to plan ahead for the season and know that your kid(s) will be happy just spending time with you – no matter what happens.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
If you find yourself without your kid(s) on a holiday this season, do yourself a favor and take some time to treat yourself. Take that vacation you always wanted or spend the whole time doing your favorite hobbies or self-care activities – whatever makes you happy. View this holiday as a time to reconnect with yourself and let your ex-spouse worry about the festivities.
WORK ON STAYING HEALTHY
The holiday season can quickly become a busy time of the year. As such, it is easy to forget your needs and feel more exhausted than usual. For those facing their first holiday season after a divorce, maintaining good health can be difficult, however; it is not impossible. Here are a few tips about how to prioritize your health during this time of the year:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat healthy, nutritious food
- Exercise regularly
- Attend a therapy session to clear your head and talk to a professional about your feelings during this time
- Indulge in a self-care activity such as a massage or day at the hair salon
- Encourage your child(ren) to maintain healthy habits
- Have fun with your family and friends
CONSULT WITH AN EXPERIENCED LAWYER AT OUR FIRM
At Bez Law Firm, P.C., we have years of experience helping individuals find an amicable resolution to their family law matters. We specialize in handling divorce and legal separations and strive to protect your interests every step of the way. If you need support this holiday season, whether establishing, modifying, or enforcing a parenting plan, our firm is happy to help you get started.
Reach out to our office online or call us directly at (916) 512-8944 to book an initial consultation.