Many people look forward to the winter holiday season each year, and they enjoy decorating the house, planning gatherings, buying presents, and more. However, if you have a divorce pending, you might not be looking forward to the holidays as much. You have a lot on your mind, and you might be wondering what the season will be like without your family intact. Many people are in this position, and there are some steps you can take to make a divorce during the holidays an easier situation.
While you and your spouse still spend the holidays together since you are still legally married? Will you go to the homes of each other’s extended families? Or will you celebrate separately for the first time? These are decisions you should discuss and determine will ahead of time. This way, you will know what to expect, and you can inform your families about your plans. There should not be a surprise when your spouse walks through the door of your parents’ house, as this can cause unnecessary tension. Planning ahead allows you to know if you are on your own during this season or not, so you can handle the season – practically and emotionally.
You are getting divorced for a reason, which means you and your spouse might not be on the best terms. However, this is not the time to constantly be involved in conflict and disputes, especially if you have children. Emotions might be running high during the holidays, but the more you argue, the less likely it can be that you will be able to cooperate and resolve your divorce issues in an efficient manner. If you remain civil, you might be able to move forward in the divorce in a civil manner as well, which can save you time, money, and stress.
In addition, never put your kids in the middle of conflict during your divorce. Judges want to see that parents can cooperate and encourage their children to have a relationship with the other parent. Using your child as leverage in an argument can complicate your custody determination down the road.
The holidays are a time for indulgence for many, and people often spend more than they would for the rest of the year on parties, gifts, decor, and more. You might especially be tempted to give your children more gifts than usual or take them on a vacation to make up for the emotional challenges they are facing with the divorce.
Remember that overspending during a divorce is never a good idea – whether it is the holiday season or not. First, the more you spend now, the less you will have to move forward post-divorce. Also, your assets are still considered to be marital property, so you might be accused of wasting marital funds, which the court does not take lightly when it comes to property division. If you rack up credit card debt now, you might be solely responsible for it, as your spouse might claim they should not be responsible for your overspending.
If you are dating someone new already, you should be careful when purchasing gifts or spending money on holiday outings with them. This could come to haunt you in your divorce case.
You might be facing your first year of shared custody during the holidays, which can be difficult for anyone. However, it is important to focus on the time you DO have with your children and try to make the most of it.
Consider making new traditions based on your new holiday schedule. For example, you might usually open presents on Christmas morning and have a special breakfast, but this year, your soon-to-be-ex-spouse has the kids on Christmas morning. Consider making a new tradition of opening presents and having breakfast-for-dinner on Christmas Eve instead. Children adapt to new traditions quickly, and it can be meaningful to have special plans with you and your children.
However, remember that your children are likely going through a lot at this time. Their lives have been uprooted, and they now have two homes instead of one and a complicated schedule. It can be wise to keep the holiday plan as simple as possible and not over plan. Keeping the focus on your new family unit instead of constant activities can help make the holidays special for your children.
Divorce is emotionally draining, even if you are the one who filed the petition. The holidays can add another layer of emotion to the situation, which means it is all too easy to feel down and struggle during this time. It is important to take care of yourself and make sure you have a support system of family members and friends in place.
If you are not with your children on a particular holiday, plan to spend time with loved ones. This can help ease the disappointment of not having your kids around. Check-in regularly with your support system and be honest if you are not feeling as much holiday spirit as usual. Taking care of yourself now will only make the future easier in most cases.
One of the most important tips for making it through the holidays during a divorce is to have a highly trusted and skilled divorce lawyer on your side. Your attorney can review everything that is going on in your case and can help to alleviate the stress of the legal process as you deal with the busy schedule of the holiday season.
In some cases, your attorney can postpone mediation sessions or other proceedings until after the holidays, so you do not have the stress and anxiety of meeting with your spouse or going to court. Your lawyer will also be on top of any filing deadlines or paperwork that needs to be provided to your spouse’s lawyer or the court, so you will not need to worry about adding that to your to-do list.
Overall, have a legal advocate handling your divorce case can significantly help you face the holidays without your divorce constantly hanging over your head. Your attorney can also provide some situation-specific advice regarding how you should approach the holidays given the details of your case.
With the right legal support and emotional support, you can make it through the holidays in spite of the stress of your divorce case. Come the New Year, you can look to the future and to starting your new life post-divorce. Never hesitate to reach out for assistance.
At the Law Office of Patrick Crawford, we know that the holidays can be a difficult time when you are experiencing trouble with your marriage or have a pending divorce case. We are here to make the divorce process go as smoothly as possible so that you can enjoy celebrating with your family and friends as much as possible. Our Annapolis divorce lawyer will provide practical advice and guidance for handling this time of year while still preserving your divorce outcome. Call (410) 216-7905 or contact us online to discuss the many ways we can help with your divorce.