The holiday season is here, and if you are newly separated, or going through a divorce, this time of year may be difficult for you. Actually, you may be dreading the holidays altogether. Your vision of spending time with your spouse over the holidays may now be dismantled due to life’s circumstances. If children are involved, celebrating holidays may be an even more dreadful experience for you. However, with preparation, mindfulness, and creativity–you can experience joy again around this time of year. Here are three ways to deal with a divorce during the holidays:

  1. Prepare Children For What’s to Come. Adjusting to the holidays with divorced or separated parents can be devastating for children. They have grown accustomed to spending time with mom and dad at once–now they have to split time at either parent’s home. If this is the case, working with my clients, I have found that sometimes an honest talk with your children and communicating with your former spouse to make this a smooth transition is helpful.
  1. Create New Traditions. The holiday season is wrapped up in tradition for most families. It’s the time of year where there is a lot of sentiment, emotions, and expectations. However, certain traditions may not be able to get carried out because the family structure has changed. But, there is no rule that says you have to implement old traditions each year. Traditions are not “set in stone.” As a family lawyer and divorce lawyer in Bergen County, NJ, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, dealing with various client’s child custody matters, I have found that it is good to consider creating new activities and making new memories for generations to come. Creating a new way to celebrate a holiday can be helpful while working within the limited time that you have with your child.
  1.  Alter Your Expectations. If you and your spouse did not have children use this opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do. You do not have to be lonely, even if you are alone during the holidays. If you allow yourself to fantasize about how the holiday should look for you, then you’ll only become more depressed. Seize the opportunity and make the best of your circumstance.

It is understandable that the holiday season can be dreadful for families going through a divorce. However, remember that you can make new memories. Live in the present and plan for the future. Look beyond the ghost of Christmas Past, while creating new traditions for years to come. 

Sheena Burke Williams, Esq.


This article contains general information and opinions from Sheena Burke Williams and is not intended to be a source of legal advice for any purpose. No reader of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information included in this article without seeking legal advice of counsel. Sheena Burke Williams expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any content in this article.