The holiday season is here, and is often one of the most difficult times for the children of divorced parents. If this is your first holiday season as a divorced family, it can be even more painful. What should be a joyful time for everyone can quickly become sad for everyone involved. The following are some ways you can adjust to the new normal during your first holiday after a divorce.
Maintain Some of Your Favorite Traditions
Even though your family has gone through a major life change, it does not mean you have to give up on some of the same traditions you have always held. While your spouse will no longer play a major role in your traditions, you can still have a cheerful holiday on your own or with your children. For instance, you can still take your children to search for a Christmas tree, make ornaments, visit holiday light shows, and the like just as you did before your divorce.
Maintain a Solid Schedule
Another thing to help you cope this holiday season is to make a schedule with your children regarding visitation and stick to it. Your parenting plan should lay out when you will have your children during the holidays. If you do not have a concrete parenting plan in place, you and your former spouse should nail down the plans for when each of you will have your children and make every effort not to change those plans. This helps get the children, and yourself, excited for what is to come. You do not want to have any disruptions to what is already a disruptive situation.
You and your spouse may want to take turns on where the children go on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, for example. You could plan to each spend some time together for the part of each day. Or, you could plan to attend a church service together one night while your former spouse has the children on a different night. Whatever your plans are, make them a priority and try not to make any changes unless there is a drastic need to do so.
Accept Your Situation
It can be difficult initially to accept what is now your new normal. If you will be without your children or your family on Christmas Day for the first time ever, you need to figure out how you will cope with that situation in a way that is healthy. Make plans to visit other family members or friends during that time.
No matter what you do, always adhere to your divorce decree when it comes to visitation with your children. Do not take any steps against what your visitation schedule allows unless you have proof you are allowed to do so. You do not want to end up in court over the holiday season because you took visitation liberties you should have not taken.
For more information, reach out to a lawyer with experience in divorce law.