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Florida Family Law - Online Article

The Holidays and Divorce

Posted on December 18, 2014

Whether you are in the thick of a pending divorce now, or are nearing the end of one, the holidays can be some of the most difficult times of your life. Perhaps even more so if you have children and you are not scheduled to see them during the festivities. While you will never have the life you once had, you have the opportunity to prepare yourself and your family for this change. Positive or negative, this choice can be yours. Below are some suggestions to help you and your family make it through this holiday season.

1. Prepare your immediate and extended families in advance. If you typically go to your own mom and dad’s house for the holidays, let them know the holiday schedule in advance so you don’t have to keep reminding them of the new schedule. Give everyone a calendar or a list so they can stop asking you for the millionth time what the schedule is again. If you happen to have the children during the holiday, make sure you follow your holiday schedule and exchange the children as previously planned. Don’t create drama or try to get back at your current or former spouse–it only makes the children anxious and disrupts the holiday season for your entire extended family. If your holiday schedule is unclear, speak with your family law attorney well in advance so that you can iron out any last minute wrinkles that might arise.

2. Christmas in July. Parties will often come to our office devastated when they learn they will not see the children on Christmas or Thanksgiving. As practitioners, we see the games that are played out during the holiday season—and we see firsthand the impact on the families. Our response after we have doled out the legal advice is simply “Christmas in July.” The concept of having Christmas in July might seem ridiculous to some, and counter-intuitive to others, but it is a trend that is taking off within blended families. You can only control so much of your day to day life during a divorce, but deciding to celebrate your holiday in your own way, on your own terms, is preferable to not celebrating at all.

3. Stay Busy and Do Something New. Holidays often give us more time than we would like to reflect on the year, on our families, and more importantly on what we have failed to accomplish during the year. Use this time to do something new to further your career, begin a new hobby, or just do something for you. Your mental health during these trying times must be protected. If you are used to doing only family events during the holidays and you don’t have the children this holiday, you might try planning events during each day that ensure you are getting out of the house and are being social. Book yourself a massage, start a new project, or go to a newly released movie—the point is to get out and about and start focusing on doing new and different things.


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