The Holidays & Divorce
January has officially become “Divorce Month” here in the U.S. Some website managers have even reported a more than 20 percent increase in people specifically searching under the word “divorce” on their websites; just from December to January. As attorneys who counsel countless clients through the divorce process each year here in Florida, another issue that we frequently encounter is questions surrounding clients going their first holiday after divorce, especially when it comes to figuring out whether/how to continue older family traditions – such as going to cut down a Christmas tree together – as well as make new ones if a couple shares children.
Below, we discuss both of these issues and some of the reasoning and experiences behind them. You may find that you identify with some of them, or realize that you would do things completely differently:
Why We See a Spike in Divorce Filings in January
Experts hypothesize that it could be due, in part, to the amount of stress involved in the holiday season, which can fracture marriage and even leave people feeling as though they cannot manage to go through another holiday with their spouse. In addition, the coming of the new year often inspires many to make sweeping changes in their lives, and some also want to provide their families with one last holiday together before they initiate the divorce process. Spending time with one’s own extended family can also sometimes spark realizations about one’s marriage.
One thing that we remind people that divorce isn’t necessarily always easy, but it doesn’t have to be contentious. In particular, if you share children with someone, it may make sense to get through the process with as much kindness as possible so that your own psychological well-being is also intact. This is why you want to make sure that you thoroughly interview your divorce attorney in order to find out more about their particular approach before you work with them.
Getting Through Your First Holiday After Divorce
When it comes to getting through your first holiday divorced, for clients who share children with their ex, a number that we have spoken with have found that coming up with new traditions and activities to do with their children helps families move on and creates excitement and joy in the newness. And while having time on your own if your children now split time with your ex can perhaps seem daunting, you might be surprised to find that it also opens up new opportunities to see and spend time with family and friends that you perhaps have not seen in a while, or engage in activities that perhaps used to feel rushed while you were also juggling everything else and full-time with your kids, such as shopping, wrapping, and hiding presents. Some clients tell us that having this time actually leaves them feeling less hectic and more refreshed.
Some experts have suggested a few proactive tips for those going through the holidays as a single parent for the first time, such as:
- Involving children in any and all planning, including taking into account what makes the most sense for when you will celebrate; whether that is on a different day, or splitting the same day up in half with the other parent, etc.
- If you need to discuss plans with your ex, doing so in private so as to avoid potentially projecting negative feelings on your child
- Practicing self-care and doing what you need to do to feel your best, including surrounding yourself with helpful family and friends
- Being proactive about reaching out to other people
- Reminding yourself regularly about what you are grateful for in your life and maintaining a positive outlook
Contact Our Florida Divorce Attorney to Find Out More
There is no question that taking some time and space away from a difficult situation often helps, and the holidays are no different. Whenever you might have any questions about divorce here in Florida, feel free to contact our West Palm Beach divorce attorney at the office of William Wallshein, P.A. today to find out how we can help.