Planning a divorce over the holidays may result in increased stress, feelings of loss and sadness, and family conflicts when children are involved.
Planning to Divorce Over the Holidays?
Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve are a big part of family celebrations. Family gatherings, special dinners, and spending time with friends give holidays special meaning. Planning a divorce during the holidays can bring up a variety of issues that create family conflicts, especially when divorcing couples have children.
Adjusting to the holidays during and after a divorce may be stressful, especially when parents are away from their children for the first time due to child custody and visitation schedules. For newly separated or divorced couples, the holidays can emphasize life changes that create feelings of loss, sadness, anxiety and/or depression, and anger. Divorce lawyers often see family conflicts escalate during major holidays. Divorcing during the holidays may require a different approach to keep holiday spirits up and family conflicts down.
Start Planning Early
When children are involved, good communication between parents and family members is essential during the holidays. When child custody and visitation schedules are in place, it is important to abide by them to prevent family conflicts. If children are old enough, they can be involved in decision-making that involves family dinners, exchanging gifts, religious ceremonies, and holiday schedules. Early planning for family events and gatherings can prevent holiday stress and family conflicts.
Change Holiday Routines
If divorce plans alter family holiday routines, create new routines that make the holidays special. Divorced couples and parents often find themselves alone during the holidays. Instead of drowning in feelings of loneliness, the holidays can present new opportunities for meeting new friends, taking up new hobbies, running a marathon, or traveling to new destinations. Changing holiday routines allows doors to open for new adventures.
Create New Holiday Traditions
Most holiday traditions are built around family activities like special meals, decorating the holiday tree, wrapping and opening gifts, and special events. If divorce lawyers are handling a holiday divorce that changes family traditions, creating new traditions can bring joy even when everyone is not together as a family unit. Parents might take the kids hiking, make a family scrapbook, sign up for arts and crafts classes, volunteer at local animal shelters or food banks, or learn new family recipes.