If you are recently divorced or still in the midst of the divorce process, this holiday season will likely be the first that your children spend time away from you. Throughout the divorce process, when minor children are involved, the main focus of the case is the best interest of the children and making the transition as smooth as possible for them. Divorce can be very distracting as litigants are dividing property, dividing money, dividing time with their children, and unraveling a life together. Once the process is complete and the divorcées settle into new routines, it can be hard to adjust to time alone without the children. Having the children gone for a whole weekend or a couple nights during the week is hard, but manageable. However, when the children are not home on Thanksgiving or Christmas, it is devastating for many parents. Although the holidays will not be the same after your divorce, below is a list of tips to make the transition easier for you.
Make your own plans: Planning is crucial to easing your family through the first holiday season after or during a divorce. In addition to making plans ahead of time with your former spouse regarding how you will share the children over the holidays, make your own plans with people you love. After your children leave to spend a holiday/part of a holiday with the other parent, you should be ready to head to a friend or family member's place for your own festivity. Although you might not feel up to celebrating with friends and family, they will make the day easier for you and you might just have some fun.
Do something for you: If your children will be away for an extended period of time over the holiday break, plan to treat yourself to something you really enjoy. You might book a massage, buy tickets to a show, go out for a nice meal or spend some extra money to upgrade to the NFL network. Giving yourself something to look forward to while the kids are away will make the time apart easier.
Get organized: Once you have a plan for how you and your co-parent will share the children over the holidays, keep the kids in the loop. Talk with your children about their "exciting" holiday plans and the new traditions you are going to start this year. Instead of focusing on how things used to be in the past, have fun with your kids by coming up with new ideas and holiday traditions. Have a plan for the holiday exchange with your spouse that is short and sweet. Saying a brief goodbye without heartbreak and tears will leave both you and the children with a more comfortable feeling about the separation.