Surviving the Holiday Season During a Divorce
The holidays can be stressful for divorced couples, especially if it's your first year divorced. Here are some tips to keep the "joy" in your celebrations, whether you're filing a contested or uncontested divorce.
Dealing With an Uncontested Divorce During the Holidays
Also known as an uncontested divorce, a couple who resolves their issues without the need for a court hearing will file a non-contested divorce. In Hawaii, this means that the couple must decide on the following agreements:
- Child custody and visitation schedules (if applicable)
- Child support (if applicable)
- Division of all debts and assets
- Alimony amounts
- Tax deductions and exemptions
If you file an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse may have less tension during the holiday season as you’ve agreed amicably on the terms of your divorce.
Dealing With a Contested Divorce During the Holidays
Choosing to divorce is an emotional and stressful process — especially during the holiday season. It may not be possible for you and your spouse to come to an agreement on your own, which may cause tension while celebrating holiday festivities.
This may mean that you don't agree on the need for a divorce or the terms of the divorce, such as child custody and alimony. In this case, your divorce will be filed as a contested divorce — and you'll need lawyers to help present options for the decisions above.
Tips for a Peaceful Holiday Season
No matter the filing option you decide on for your divorce, the holiday season will look different this year without a doubt. Here are some tips to help you survive the holidays and continue to enjoy the festivities even through a divorce:
Consider Spending the Holidays Apart
No matter the reason for your divorce, choosing to dissolve your marriage is an emotionally taxing experience for you and your spouse. To give each other the space to enjoy the holidays, it may be best to celebrate separately. If you're not already living separately, you will most likely be as soon as your divorce is finalized, which may change many of your holiday traditions.
Using this time to spend with loved ones will help you adjust to the future of having separate celebrations from your spouse, especially if you’re used to going to their family’s house for the holidays.
Make New Traditions
Divorcing during the holidays may leave you longing for the same traditions you once did with your spouse. However, many, if not all, of these traditions may change once you're legally no longer married.
This makes it the perfect time to celebrate the season with new traditions. Whether this means finding new ways to experience the joys of the season with your children or taking a trip somewhere you've always wanted to go.
Plan Your Child’s Visitation Schedule
If your divorce order allows you to share custody with your ex-spouse, it will be up to you to determine where the kids will spend their time for the holidays. Though judges tend to influence how often parents can see their children, they leave the holiday planning solely to the parents. Remember to plan to allow your co-parent enough time around their work schedule to prepare the days and any special activities they may want to do.
Remember — the holiday celebrations don’t have to occur according to the date listed on your calendar. If your ex-spouse has your children for the holidays, you can still make the days before and after those dates just as special. From your little one’s perspective, it’ll be extra fun to have multiple holiday celebrations! Setting them up with this expectation ahead of time and making the situation positive will help them to enjoy the season.
Shift the Focus Away From Gift Giving
The cost of separate living spaces and legal fees tend to leave parents without a surplus of additional cash as they’re divorcing, which can prove stressful during the holidays. While you may feel pressured to give your children the best gifts this season (or maybe more than last year), focus on spending quality time with them instead.
Whether you prefer to bond by watching their favorite holiday movies or spending time baking or cooking, your children will just be happy to have your company. There are plenty of ways to make the season special without splurging on expensive gifts.
Seasoned Divorce Lawyers in Honolulu
We hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season! If you’re ready to file for divorce, our team at Smith & Sturdivant, LLLC can guide you and your family through the process. We’ve handled various divorce cases including contested and uncontested divorce for over 12 years, and our Honolulu divorce lawyers have the skills necessary to assist you.
To book a consultation, visit us online or call our office at (808) 201-3898