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Planning for the holidays during or after a divorce

As December rolls in, you may wonder what the holidays are going to look like for you and your children. You may be used to planning multiple get-togethers on both sides of the family. But this year is different.

How can you handle the holidays when you are separated or recently divorced? How will you ensure that your children are happy during what could be a difficult time?

Below are some tips to consider this holiday season:

  • Before making plans, look at your child custody and visitation orders to see if you included a holiday schedule. If there is a schedule, plan your activities around it.
  • Talk to the other parent about the holiday schedule early so that you both have reasonable expectations.
  • Flexibility is key to a happy season. Let your children see all of their relatives, if possible. Consider changing the schedule when special events pop up.
  • If you do not already have a schedule, consider including your children in the plans. What traditions do they want to keep? What new traditions would they like to create?
  • Talk to your children about the final schedule and post it for them to see. There should be no surprises in this transition -- for you, the children or their other parent.
  • If you are planning to bring your child to another state for the holidays, get the other parent's written consent as early as possible. Without it, you may be breaking the law.
  • Make sure that your children know that you love them. Avoid the temptation to pit them against the other parent or make them feel guilty about doing things with the other parent. Remember: Your children do not want you to be lonely and may worry about you spending time by yourself. Remind them that you are okay and are excited for them.

Undoubtedly, you are also facing many emotions right now. Accepting that the change is happening and creating new traditions is a way to help you stay positive for your children.

If you have any questions about your visitation and custody schedules, an experienced family lawyer can help you review your court orders and negotiate with the other parent.

Since 1980 the AV-rated law firm of Hale Ball has served the legal needs of individuals and businesses. Our team of attorneys include lawyers named to Super Lawyer and Rising Star lists, as well as attorneys with advanced legal degrees, specialty certifications and lawyers who teach their areas of practice to other lawyers.

Use the contact form on this page to schedule a consultation, or call 703-591-4900.

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