Family Divorce and Separation During the Holidays

How to Handle the Holidays When You’re Separated or Divorced

The holidays are a time for celebration. From wrapping gifts and decorating the tree to singing carols and attending holiday parties, there are many occasions to gather with family, friends, and loved ones and enjoy the season. If, however, you are going through a separation or a divorce, the holidays can be anything but relaxing—especially if you have children. Suddenly, the old family traditions don’t fit, and finding new ones can be difficult. At Mulligan Epstein Attorneys, we understand that the holidays can be a stressful time for families in transition, and we want to do everything we can to make the process easier. That’s why we put together the following list of three things to keep in mind during this season. We hope these tips help you have a wonderful holiday.

Coordinate Your Gift Giving

For many people, gifts are a way to show love and appreciation for another person. During a divorce or separation, you may be tempted to use gifts to “one up” the other parent, or go overboard to compensate for difficult times. It’s important to avoid using gifts in this manner. If possible, coordinate with your ex-partner so you don’t end up giving your children the same gifts, or join forces and give gifts together. Just because you aren’t together doesn’t mean your names can’t be on the same card. In fact, presenting a unified front might just be the greatest gift of all.

Plan Ahead and Keep Your Promises

The holidays are hectic, with multiple celebrations and extra social outings. If this is your first holiday apart, it’s important to plan ahead and figure out who needs to be where and when. You should also decide ahead of time where the children will spend each part of the holiday, should you choose to celebrate separately. For example, Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with another can be a good compromise—but only if you talk about it beforehand.  It’s also important to stick to the plan, once it’s settled. Last minute changes will cause added stress and breed resentment. If this proves too difficult, a divorce lawyer or another outside party can help by acting as a decision maker or go-between and help ensure that all sides are treated fairly.

Give Back and Focus on Others

The holidays are a time to reflect on the things for which we’re thankful and spend time with our loved ones. Both of these things can be hard to do if your family is in transition. Instead of focusing on yourself and your situation, look outward and see what you can do for others in need. If you’ll be alone for part of the holiday, find out what volunteer opportunities are available. If buying gifts for your loved ones is a source of stress, take part in a drive and donate items to those less fortunate. Giving back can be a great distraction as well as a way to honor the true meaning of the season.

If your family is in transition and you find yourself going through a separation or divorce, you don’t have to do it alone. The attorneys at Mulligan Epstein specialize in family law and can help you get through this difficult time. Whether you need legal help or simply want to schedule a consultation, get in touch. Together, we’ll find a way to celebrate the holidays, no matter the difficulties.