Surviving the Holiday Season when Separated or Divorced

The holidays can be tough during a regular year, but if you are recently divorced, separated or going through a contentious divorce, the holiday season can be extra stressful.
Top Six Tips to Survive and Enjoy the Holidays after Parents Separate
1- Start a new holiday tradition.
Whether this is your first year after divorce/separation or several years after, embrace the change. Children often struggle with new schedules during the first year their parents are separated. Further, children are the ones who suffer when you and the other parent have conflicts over holiday time. Planning ahead and giving everyone new traditions to look forward to can help ease the transition. Las Vegas and Henderson have free holiday experiences for every age group. All ages can enjoy the Ethel M. Chocolates Holiday garden which has beautiful lights and no entrance fees. The Bellagio Conservatory is the perfect place to enjoy the amazing displays and take new family photos. Winter is the perfect time to visit Death Valley, which is great day trip. Plan a new holiday adventure with your family. Older children may want to be included in some of the planning and remember that the holidays can be an emotional time for your children as well.
2- Don’t break the budget on holiday gifts and try to coordinate gifts with the other parent.
When one family becomes two, the budget is often much tighter for both families. Don’t overspend on gifts for your children in an effort to outshine the other parent. If you and your ex have good communication, try to coordinate and buy some gifts for the children together. When it is not possible to buy gifts from both parents, try to coordinate gifts so that the children do not receive duplicate gifts from each parent. Don’t underestimate the gift of time and family adventures. Children need time to adjust to having the holidays at two separate homes, but showing them that you and the other parent are still united when it comes to the children is a priceless gift.
3- Be Flexible and Always Notify the Other Parent of Travel Plans.
If you have a divorce decree or custody decree, you likely have a holiday schedule for time with the children. Look at the schedule in advance and confirm the schedule with your ex. Let the children know which part of the holiday they will spend with you and with the other parent. Try to remember that the holidays can be celebrated on any day. In addition, if you and the other parent switch holidays or exchange times, make sure you have this in writing. Always confirm any agreed upon changes to the schedule via text message or email.
If your divorce case or custody case is pending during the holidays, it is important to check in with your attorney and make sure you are not violating any custody orders. If there are no orders in place for holidays, contact the other parent as soon as possible to make plans. In the event that you are able to reach an agreement for holiday time, confirm the agreement in writing. In many cases, an attorney can suggest and coordinate the holiday plans if there is no order in place. In addition, if you have questions about the holiday custody orders, you should seek advice from a family law attorney. Denying holiday time to the other parent, when there are no safety concerns for the children is never advisable.
The holidays often include travel and if you are recently separated, you may not know what your obligations are to the other parent. In Nevada, you must give the other parent notice of trips out of state, provide a travel itinerary and a phone number where the children can be reached. Think of this tip as advice for the future, because when your ex is traveling with the children, you will want to know details of the trip and how to reach the children.
4- Ask for Help from Supportive Friends and Family.
Close friends and family often want to help but are not sure what you need. If this is your first holiday on your own, you may want to join in on a friend or family celebration. Tell your support network what you need from them (listening, companionship, empathy, etc.) Keep in mind there are also many support networks online. If you find yourself feeling alone during the holidays, it can really help to connect with other parents who may be experiencing a similar situation. If the holidays feel like too much for you to deal with, seek professional therapy or counseling. Remember, having a good family law attorney on your side can also ease your stress during and after divorce/separation.
5- One Holiday and day at a time
While you may feel pressure to do everything you usually do during the holidays, especially for your children, let go of traditions that no longer work for you. Give yourself a pass and say no to one event/tradition that causes the most stress. Take a risk during the holidays to try something different. Schedule some time for rest and relaxation if possible. If slowing down gives you too much time to dwell, consider a volunteer opportunity. During this season there are endless opportunities to volunteer for as much or little time as you desire. Shifting your focus may give you just enough perspective to get through this year and look forward to the new year.
6- Look forward to the New Year and your new life.
If you are newly separated or divorced, look forward to a fresh start in the New Year. In addition, if you have been through a long divorce or custody action look forward to the day when you will have a final Decree of Divorce or Custody Decree. Having good legal advice from an attorney you trust while you go through divorce or separation can reduce your stress and allow to focus on the better times ahead.

Vegas West
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