It’s hard to escape the message that the holiday season is about family and togetherness. While that’s a noble sentiment, it can be painful to hear if you’re preparing for a divorce this winter. The constant focus on family relationships can make a holiday divorce more stressful, especially if you have kids.
However, you are strong enough to weather this storm. With the right approach and preparation, you can keep your divorce on track and find new ways to make the holidays satisfying. Keep reading to learn our five biggest tips for anyone getting ready to end their divorce this winter.
1. Know That This Year Will Be Different
Most couples develop holiday routines over the course of their relationships. You have likely spent the past several years spending time with each other’s families, attending annual parties together, and potentially building traditions with your children.
When you’re preparing to separate, the holidays will be different. You probably won’t spend the season surrounded by the same people or going to the same places. You might be a little more subdued than you normally would be. That’s okay.
Ending a marriage is a big change, but it’s a change for the better. Accepting that this year’s celebrations will be different instead of trying to cling to the past makes it easier to prepare mentally and emotionally. It also frees you to find new things to appreciate about this time of year, like having time to spend with your friends or relaxing instead of trying to visit with two families every big day.
2. Have a Plan for Your Solo Holidays
One of the biggest stressors of the holiday season as a married couple is the sheer number of social obligations involved. However, these obligations also act as a clear schedule for the season. After a few years of marriage, you probably know exactly what you’ll do for each major holiday.
A divorce changes that. Suddenly, you have holes opening up in your seasonal schedule. It’s up to you to decide what you want to do during the days you used to spend with your spouse and their family. Otherwise, important dates may sneak up on you and leave you feeling lonely or left out.
The best way to avoid this issue is to establish new plans well in advance. This can be as complex as throwing a party yourself and inviting everyone you love or as simple as planning a purposeful day of rest and relaxation. The point isn’t to recreate past years; it’s to do something enjoyable that doesn’t rely on your spouse’s presence.
3. Set Expectations Early
Holiday planning is even more important if you have kids. Talk to your coparent about their plans for big days. Ideally, you’ll work out a schedule that lets each of you spend quality time with your children. While that time may not align perfectly with the calendar date of celebration, few kids will complain about getting two Christmas mornings. Setting these expectations early can help reduce conflict and stress during an already stressful time.
It’s also worthwhile to have backup plans. Travel and weather around major holidays are notoriously unreliable. Prepare a few ideas for what you’ll do if events outside your control delay a custody transfer. A good Plan B or C can help keep your holidays bright even if they look different from what you expected.
4. Schedule Important Divorce Meetings in Advance
There are so many other things going on that the administrative work involved in a divorce can get lost in the shuffle. That can delay the entire process, potentially costing you more time and money in the long run.
If you expect you’ll need to address important divorce issues during the holidays, schedule those meetings well in advance. These meetings may include collaborative divorce negotiations, mediation sessions, or court hearings. If a matter could delay your divorce, it’s best to get it on the calendar now.
The closer you get to the holidays, the more likely it is that people have taken time off or already made plans for a given date. Full calendars can make it particularly difficult to keep your split on track. Setting up necessary meetings long before most parties and get-togethers have made it on the calendar allows you to avoid dragging things out due to scheduling conflicts.
5. Talk to an Experienced Attorney
Filing for divorce is a complicated process. The last thing most people want to do during the holidays is handle a complex legal issue on their own. That’s why you should prioritize talking to a skilled divorce attorney.
A good lawyer does much more than represent you in court. They will also help you understand your rights, explain your options for your split, and help you keep the proceedings on schedule. Working with an attorney can help you keep your divorce on track despite the stress and distractions caused by the holiday season.
Let Rodriguez Lagorio, LLP, Help You Streamline Your Holiday Divorce
It’s normal to feel a little Grinch-like if you’re getting divorced during the holidays. However, you don’t have to go through the process alone. You can work with an experienced attorney to simplify the process so you can focus on enjoying the season.
At the Law Offices of Diane J.N. Morin Inc., we understand how stressful holiday divorces can be. We are available to help you navigate the family law system and keep the proceedings moving forward. Our empathetic attorneys are dedicated to helping San Francisco families resolve divorces and other disputes neatly and efficiently. Schedule your consultation today to learn how our compassionate team can streamline your divorce or separation, even during the holidays.