How Do I Navigate Thanksgiving After Divorce?
If you and your spouse have recently gone through a divorce, or you are in the process of finalizing a divorce, you may not be feeling particularly thankful as you approach Thanksgiving. The divorce process can be stressful, complicated and emotionally exhausting for all parties involved. This is particularly true if you have children, and you are sharing custody with your ex-spouse. However, just because your marriage did not work out does not mean that Thanksgiving has to be fraught with stress and tension. You can survive Thanksgiving, and even enjoy the day if you can focus on the true meaning of Thanksgiving and keep some helpful tips in mind. If you have questions or concerns about the divorce process, or you need legal representation, contact a highly skilled divorce lawyer.
What Are the Most Effective Tips for Dealing with the Holidays After Divorce?
While many people look forward to the holidays for quality time with family, feasting on the traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings, and celebrating the family traditions that have been passed down through the generations, this may not be the case for families who are struggling with the fallout of their divorce. It can take some time to adjust to life after divorce, including sharing custody with your children and figuring out how to navigate the holidays with as little stress and conflict as possible. However, the following tips can help you make it through the day:
- Rely on friends and family. There is no question that a family gathering can be a difficult day if you recently went through a divorce, particularly if this is your first Thanksgiving post-divorce and your children are spending the day with your ex-spouse. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who understand how difficult this day is for you. While you should not spend the entire day moping and dwelling on the things that you have lost, if you need a shoulder to cry on and take a moment to talk about your feelings, friends and family are there to support you and help you feel less alone. After you have had a good cry, or a vent session, try to distract yourself and enjoy the delicious food and the friends and family who love you.
- Be flexible. Your custody agreement may include specific details about the Thanksgiving weekend, who has custody of the children, and what time they should be dropped off and picked up by the other parent. Keep in mind that in an unpredictable national holiday weekend, unexpected events may arise, which may impact the agreed-upon schedule. For example, if inclement weather causes hazardous road conditions, your ex-spouse may not be able to return the children to you on time, or even until the next day. It is in everyone’s best interest to be flexible, and avoid taking it out on your ex, particularly if the reason for the schedule change is out of his or her control. If you and your ex have a bitter or contentious relationship, and you argue about things like schedule changes or arriving late in front of your children, this can be extremely stressful and upsetting for your children.
- Maintain a respectful relationship with your ex. This may be easier said than done, particularly if you went through a bitter divorce. However, if you can focus on what is best for the children and find a way to be civil and treat each other with respect, it will benefit you, your ex, and most importantly your children. If communicating in person is still too difficult, discuss important issues via email or text. Focus on the issues at hand, including child support and parenting schedules, and avoid fighting about the issues that caused you to get a divorce.
- Practice gratitude. On Thanksgiving, it is common for families to go around the table and each person has the opportunity to share what he or she is most thankful for. While Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, and giving thanks for family, friends and good health, practicing a daily gratitude routine can help shift your perspective from what you lost as a result of the divorce to the things that you do have, including healthy children, a supportive family and dedicated friends.
- Enjoy time to yourself. Sharing custody with your ex means that you have time to yourself that you did not have prior to the divorce. This may take some getting used to, but you may be surprised to realize how therapeutic it can be to have a weekend to yourself. Whether you are someone who enjoys solitude, or you prefer to surround yourself with people, there are many opportunities that you can take advantage of when your ex has custody of the children. If that happens to fall on Thanksgiving, consider volunteering at a soup kitchen or joining a group of friends to watch a Thanksgiving Day football game.
- Establish new traditions. While you may not be able to continue celebrating certain family traditions now that you are divorced, you can create new Thanksgiving traditions with your children. Talk to your kids about activities that they would be interested in doing to celebrate the holiday. Traditions can change and evolve as your children get older.
- Communicate with your children. It is important that you recognize how difficult the holidays can be for your children. Their life has changed dramatically, and it is common for children to think that their parents’ divorce was in some way their fault. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and reassure them that you and your spouse both love them very much, and that they were in no way responsible for the divorce.
Marlton Divorce Lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Help Clients Navigate the Divorce During Thanksgiving
If you and your spouse have decided to proceed with a divorce, do not hesitate to contact the Marlton divorce lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. We understand how difficult the holidays can be, particularly if you have children, and you have complex custody issues that need to be resolved, and our skilled lawyers are standing by to help you through the process. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 856-600-6901 or contact us online. Our team is proud to represent clients across South Jersey including Marlton, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, New Jersey.