Thursday, October 1, 2015

Getting Through the Holidays -- Post Divorce

If your divorce is final and you are now facing the major holiday season, there are lots of adjustments for you to make.  If you have children, you have to work with them to both keep some of the family traditions and create some new ones.  Even if it has been several years since the divorce was finalized, holidays can still be a difficult time.

With that in mind, here are some tips on how to deal with the holidays.

1.  Start by checking the court order on scheduling.  Is it your year for Thanksgiving?  How is the time allocated when the kids are out of school?  You probably don't have to stick with the official schedule if you and your ex both agree on something else, but it's a good starting point.

2.  Go ahead and send any notices that are required.  Some orders provide that one parent must notify the other parent by a certain date if they are going to have the children or if they are going out of town or perhaps for some other reason.  It doesn't hurt to send a notice early and that could give early warning which might help avoid conflicts later.

3.  Make reservations, if you are traveling.  With the way hotels and airlines book up early, it's a good idea to start as soon as you can. You can get a better deal, plus it's a good way to reinforce with your ex that the children will be with you at certain times. It will also be less stressful for you if you have reservations worked out early.

4.  Be prepared for compromises and last-minute complications.  It's not always the fault of your ex.  Sometimes, kids forget to tell their parents about plans, projects or messages until the last minute.  Don't get angry if something comes up.  Be willing to talk things through and find a solution that works for the kids, and hopefully, both parents.  Consider meeting with a counselor, if there's time.

5.  Be flexible.  Remember that kids are young for just a limited time.  Both parents should work together to share that time and make things right for the kids.  There are always alternatives that can be found.  If you find out about conflicting plans or other problems, don't blow up.  If you find out early enough, you can work with a counselor, attorney or mediator.  If it's a last-minute issue, and you can't figure out a solution, call an experienced attorney who can brainstorm with you and maybe tell you what others have done in similar situations,  Be open to compromise.

The keys to having pleasant holidays include planning ahead, working through conflicts and being flexible.  Start early in dealing with how you will be sharing time with the children.