Surviving the holidays during divorce

Divorce is hard at any time of year, but the holidays can make your separation even more difficult both emotionally and physically. If you have children, certain traditions will no longer be possible. Even if you do not have kids, the holiday season can be a painful reminder of lost dreams. Despite the changes that cannot be avoided, it is still possible to have a joyous time this year. Whether you have been divorced for several years or have just decided to separate, there are a few things you can do to keep the holidays merry and bright.

Set new priorities

You have likely spent previous Christmases concerned about what to get for your spouse. This will obviously change this year, but there are positive aspects to that. The grieving process can be especially sorrowful during the holidays, so make yourself and your mental health a priority. Gift yourself something that will allow you to relax and rejuvenate, such as a massage or therapy sessions, or something to take care of yourself physically, such as a gym pass.

If you have children, there also needs to be a focus on maintaining civility when interacting with your ex-spouse. The happiness of your children should be a main priority to help them adjust to the changes you are all experiencing.

Make decisions early

Start now to plan what will happen during the holidays. If you have a joint-custody arrangement, you will likely need to decide how to schedule time with kids. There are several different options, but some of the most popular include the following:

  • Full-day splits: For multi-day holidays like Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, you can determine which days the kids will spend at each parent's house. Those celebrating Christmas may choose to have the children spend Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas day with the other. You can also rotate which day is spent where every year.
  • Half-day splits: Another option is to split holidays in half. For example, the child would spend Christmas morning with one parent and enjoy dinner with the other.
  • Alternating years: Some couple's find that spending the entire set of holidays with their children every other year works best. One father interviewed by CNN reports that he and his wife follow this schedule, giving them the option to do things like travel with family or visit friends on the years they do not have their children for the holidays.

Following these tips can help you keep the holidays joyous during divorce. For help creating a custody schedule or setting visitation terms, contact an experienced divorce attorney who can relieve stress and allow you to make happy memories with those you love.