The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of year but if you’re going through a divorce, it can feel anything but.
Dealing with separations, divorce, child custody issues, and division of assets is difficult enough; simply making it through the holidays shouldn’t have to be. Here are 5 tips our Ricklin Family Law team has compiled that will help your holidays go more smoothly:
1. Play by the Rules
If you have children, you will need to discuss with your ex-spouse who will have the kids for what amount of time and on what days. But don’t just plan ahead for this year – if you don’t plan on spending the holidays as one family, create a schedule outlining which parent your children will be with on the holidays for the years to come.
Consider hiring a mediator if conversations with your former spouse are going nowhere. Your mediator may be able to provide some additional insights that will be helpful to your family’s situation.
2. Play by the Law
On a similar note, stick to the law. During your divorce proceedings, you may have court rules in place that deal with how much money you can spend while your case is still open, or how you discuss the other parent in front of your kids. Of course, following court orders is critical beyond the holidays but this season will certainly be easier to survive if you’re abiding by the law.
3. Watch Your Wallet
Whether you’re a single parent or don’t have children, a divorce can significantly impact your budget. With kids, it can be tempting buy expensive gifts that you think will endear you more to your children. If you have no children, it can be equally tempting to lavish yourself in extra gifts as you grieve the end of your marriage. Create a reasonable budget and follow it. Don’t spend more than you can realistically afford. In fact, this can be a great opportunity for you to create new holiday traditions, especially if kids are involved. Bake cookies together and present them as gifts to your friends – you’ll be giving your family the priceless gift of quality time.
4. Facing the Family
Family visits can be difficult whether you’re divorced or not. Unfortunately if you fall into the latter category, you may be forced to deal with family members who are either curious about or vehemently against your decision to divorce. Be prepared to calmly explain your reasons for your divorce and then move on. A simple explanation should satisfy their curiosity; don’t make it an emotional, tear-filled justification. Surround yourself with family members who love you and support your decisions, as painful as those decisions might be.
5. Stay United While Separated
No matter what your relationship with your former spouse is like, you must demonstrate your commitment to your children, together. Together, break the news about which parent they’ll be spending the holidays with. If possible, participate in shared holiday traditions together, and create new ones! The holidays won’t be the same as it was before, but giving your family happy, stress-free and conflict-free memories will make the weeks more enjoyable for everyone.
We understand the challenges that a divorce or child custody dispute can put on a family. Whether your case is resolved through negotiations, mediation, arbitration or litigation, you can count on clear communication and skillful advocacy when you work with our firm. Contact Ricklin Family Law and let us guide you through every step of the legal processes your case requires.
Ricklin & Associates
2625 Townsgate Road
Westlake Village, CA 91361