A divorce between a couple often involves more than just the husband and wife. The children are a large factor and one of the main reasons to seek a family law attorney. If the separation is occurring during the holidays, the stress can increase and dramatically affect the children.
To help make things go as smoothly as possible, there are four key tips to follow. When going through anything emotional like this, it's important to take a step back, look at the big picture, and process everything from other people's perspectives.
Holiday Visitation Agreements
Every family has busy holiday schedules and traditions they want to follow. No matter what type of custody agreement you have arranged, it's important to plan out a specific holiday visitation agreement. During holidays like Christmas and New Year's, it's a good idea to alternate the day celebrations and the eve celebrations on an annual basis. For example, one year, the father can take the children on Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. The mother would then have the children on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. The next year, this schedule would alternate.
Traveling distances could be a factor too. In this case, a planned out agreement with lawyers can help put things to paper and remove any hostility or arguing. When attending these meetings, it's a good idea to bring a printed monthly calender. This way, you can easily go through the holidays and arrange different agreements. With everything recorded on paper, there will be no confusion or disputes.
Full Family Mediation
Mediation is very common for divorcing couples to go through. It involves a legal presence to help settle money and child custody matters. It helps make everything fair and presents things without so many emotions. For families with older children, it may be a good idea to get them involved on a mediation session.
During this session the child can express their feelings on the holidays, traditions they love, and agreements that they are satisfied with. While the parent should have the ultimate say, a child's opinion should be taken into account so they do not feel like they are being forgotten. This is also a good time to help a child cope with the divorce and get more understanding.
New Holiday Traditions
Children may become sad when the annual traditions celebrated as a family are not the same as they used to be. It's a good idea to help a child cope with these feelings by starting new holiday traditions.
Examples of new holiday traditions to start includes finding a local event to attend. This can be anything from a parade to a bake sale, or community event to help needy families in the area. By volunteering somewhere, children can get a great perspective on how hard some families have it during the holidays. At home, you can create a Christmas craft, like custom ornaments or stockings. If the children are in a new home with one parent, there can be a lot of focus on Christmas decorations to collect.
No matter how much support a parent gives, it can be hard for a child to hear rhyme or reason from them. Divorce can be devastating for children and this is why sometimes a third-party should be brought in to help a child express and handle feelings. Contact your family law attorney to see what kind of resources they have connections with.
This can be a number of things including family counselors or a child's play group. In a play group, children can spend time with other children of divorce and work together on various holiday activities. A lot of times there are free services or groups that families can attend. Reaching out to find these resources can go a long way.
The first holiday season after a divorce could be the hardest. Setting off on the right foot could go a long way for adapting to the new family dynamics.