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Divorce and the Holidays

do children have a say in child custody

According to experts, most couples avoid divorcing before or during the holidays for the sake of their children. For those who are divorced, the holidays can be a painful reminder of that separation and of one’s lack of partner, and may perhaps generate a lot of stress, tension, and emotion regarding the person with whom a shared child will spend the holidays. However, here are things that you can do to manage your feelings and cope with the holidays during or after a divorce. Consider the following tips.

For Parents of Children of Divorce During the Holidays…

Parents of children of divorce have an additional challenge during the holiday season: ensuring that a child gets quality time with each parent, and has a great holiday experience although parents are no longer married. Some tips for keeping things as joyful as possible this holiday season include:

  • Talk with your child. If this is your child’s first holiday season after the divorce, or if the holidays are particularly difficult for your child to cope with even if you have been divorced for years, having a conversation with your child about how they’re feeling, where they will be spending the holiday, and what they want to do this holiday season is important. Be open to your child’s feelings and thoughts, and be sure to be considerate of what they may be going through.
  • Adhere to your parenting plan. When parents divorce in Kentucky, they are asked by the court to create and submit a parenting plan that provides details of each parent’s responsibilities and rights in regards to a child, including how time will be shared by parents. Many parenting plans also include a section regarding time sharing during the holidays; if your parenting plan states how time is to be spent with each parent, make sure you adhere to it! Parenting plans are legally enforceable documents, and following the guidelines of your parenting plan can mitigate conflict and confrontation.
  • Speak to your ex-spouse. If you and your ex-spouse do not have a parenting plan, or do not have a parenting plan that addresses holiday time, you will need to work together to create a holiday schedule that works for everyone. You might consider spending holidays together, agree to split the holiday 50/50, or may decide to trade off holidays. Remember, your child should be the priority as you make a decision about how to share time during the holidays.

For All Persons Who Have Recently Divorced…

Regardless of whether you have children or not, the holidays can be very stressful and emotional if you are going through a divorce (and are living separately from your spouse as such), or if your divorce has been finalized (especially if this is your first holiday season post-divorce). Some things that you can do to keep your spirits high in the face of the feelings you may be experiencing include:

  • Make plans for yourself with friends, family, or a community or volunteer group. Having plans in place will help to lift your spirits, get you out of the house, and ensure that you don’t spend the holiday alone.
  • Focus on new memories, not old ones. If you’re going through a divorce or are recently single, now’s not the time to reminisce on old memories; it’s the time to make new ones. So rather than hanging out at the restaurant that you and your spouse used to go to every holiday season, or putting up the decorations that were given to you by your in-laws, focus your energy on creating a new tradition that is fun and completely independent of any old emotions.
  • Remain productive. Going through a divorce can be challenging. The more productive you remain, the better you will feel, and the more resources you’ll have for coping with your emotions. Even if you’re just staying home, take time do things that make you feel good, like reading a favorite book. With the new year right around the corner, now is also the time to make resolutions!

Contact Our Law Office for Legal Counsel

If you are in the middle of divorce and have questions about property division, child custody, and other common issues in divorce or if you have questions about how to enforce a parenting agreement or put in place a parenting plan, our law firm can help. Call the offices of John H. Ruby & Associates today at 502-895-2626, send us an email, or stop by our office today to schedule your initial appointment.