Holiday Tips Following Divorce

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Now that Halloween has come and gone, the scary season has officially begun for newly divorced couples who are facing Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve as a single parent in San Antonio, or wherever you may be.

Just as many are adjusting to life after divorce, the holidays are arriving perhaps bringing memories of happier times. With this comes the need to figure out how to make these holidays special for your children by creating a whole new set of happy memories. Nobody ever said that this is going to be easy, but here are a few tips on navigating the holidays.

Focus on your children. They had no hand in the decisions made by you and your ex during the divorce process, yet they are impacted by them. It is your job to show them that they are still part of a loving family that can pull together to make sure that the holidays are still fun and exciting. By thrusting yourself into this project, you are assuring the kids that everything is going to be okay and internalizing the same message.

Be prepared to spend some of the holidays without your children. Divorce dictates that, in addition to other established visitation periods, children will be divided up during the holidays so that they can spend equal time with each parent. Obviously, this holiday sharing works best if you and your ex are on decent terms. Sometimes it is possible for each parent to have the children at some time on the actual big day. On other occasions, especially as time passes, the parents and children are often able to celebrate together. Remember, the celebration is more about the entire Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday season than one specific calendar day.

Regardless, make the holidays special. Enjoy going to your children's fall festival at school, volunteer to help serve the homeless Thanksgiving Day dinner or cook for an elderly neighbor. At home, decorate for Thanksgiving and plan for the day just like you have in the past. If the children are with you ex, invite friends over who have no family to be with to enjoy the turkey, dressing and pumpkin pies.

For Christmas, buy a tree and pull out the decorations. Decorate the house, bake cookies, go shopping, and enjoy looking at the Christmas lights. All of a sudden, your house will have that warm and fuzzy feeling when the kids are there, creating a whole new set of memories for everyone even if you are not together on the big day.

In general, embrace the changes in your holiday traditions. Entertain the idea of going on a ski trip or going to visit an out of town friend, if the children are going to be with your ex for Christmas. Go out with friends on New Year's Eve and have everyone over to watch marathon football the next day. Do something totally out of the ordinary and you will be surprised how quickly the holiday passes and how enjoyable it has been. By establishing new customs and traditions, your children are reassured that all is well and the future is bright.

Whatever your family law needs are, it always in your best interest to seek advice from an attorney who is experienced in that area.

Allan R. Manka, P.C., is a San Antonio attorney who has handled a wide variety of family law matters for nearly 40 years. He has proudly represented the servicemen and servicewomen at Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases, in addition to clients throughout South Texas.

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Other Resources:

O, Come All ye Newly Single Parents: How to Get Through the Holidays Without Singing The Blues, Huffington Post, Article by Christina Pesoli, October 19, 2012