Don’t isolate yourself
You might be in a new home or not have your loved ones around as much. If you don’t have access to your kids yet, try and make sure you have somebody around. It could be other family members or friends. Make every attempt you can to be around your kids, if you can. In fact, there are some parents going through a divorce that are able to co-parent and even spend the holidays together. That is not the case for all parents however. If that’s not possible, just make sure you have people around you that you love.
Avoid starting bad habits
You need to take care of yourself physically. This isn’t the time to start eating a lot of ice cream on the sofa. You may find yourself for two or three days where there is no one is around. The kids are at the other parent. Nobody in your social circle really knows about the divorce or you don’t have a good support system yet. It can be easy to fall into poor health habits, but it should be the time to start new, fun habits.
This can be the time to start thinking about getting to the gym. Start a new yoga class or a spinning class. Try creative pursuits like a painting or photography class. Something new that sounds fun to you.
Skip the rebound relationships
It may be just a few months into the divorce process and possibly your spouse has even said to you, “Well, you can start dating.” Bad idea! Wait, and don’t rush into anything just because you feel like you “should”. It can be hard, but the holidays are a good time to go to church, synagogue, mosque, whatever religion you are.
Get a massage. That may sound a little weird. However, there are studies that show a regular, healthy massage will make you feel better. It can be a good substitute for things that you shouldn’t be doing until at least the divorce is over.
The holidays are not the time to have a lot of things at your soon-to-be ex’s house. If you can, don’t think “Oh, it’s December 24th, where is my…” or “I don’t have a Christmas tree…” This is not the time to call her or him up, go get that item. You need to have boundaries. Sometimes you may not have temporary orders yet. However, you need to make sure that you keep your boundaries in place.
Don’t make assumptions or expectations
You might think everything that’s happening is against you and somebody’s trying to hurt you. Over the holidays, the courts are more or less shut down. If they are open, you won’t have many hearings. So, this is when you have a chance to think through everything. Maybe the other lawyer isn’t out to destroy you. Maybe your soon-to-be ex is not out to hurt you. Maybe they are, but this is a time to reflect and at least give people the benefit of the doubt.
You do not know how things are going to turn out in your divorce. The holidays are not a time to start thinking, “Well, I’m going to get this much money,” or, “I’m going to have the kids this often.” This is the time to let all of that go for a couple weeks. Focus on the present, and not what you expect to happen or what might happen.
Even if you are going to be fighting like crazy after the holidays, give it a rest for a couple weeks. That can wait. And then on January 2nd, you can start looking at the evidence again with a little more of an open mind and objectivity.
Don’t refuse communication with your ex
Communication is one of the best ways to manage a divorce. Hiller Law uses software called Our Family Wizard which can also be a great way to communicate. If the opportunity arises, pick up the phone if you’re allowed to talk to her or him. If she or he calls or texts, even if they’re being ugly, there is a response strategy to use called BIFF. This is: give a Brief, Informative, Factual, but Friendly response. The holidays aren’t the time for long drawn out fights, even if they are attacking you. Just communicate. Keep it brief. Keep it informative. Keep it factual. Keep it friendly. At least during the holidays.
Put aside the bitterness for a little while
The Holidays aren’t the time to start beating yourself up or looking for ways to blame the other spouse for the divorce. Christmas, Hanukah, or any other holiday you celebrate makes this is the time of year to be looking for spiritual guidance. Do the things that your religion is teaching you. Try to focus on good things about the holidays, and take a break from the fight and the bitterness for a few weeks.
At Hiller Law, we are experienced attorneys to assist families through the difficult divorce process.
Our experience allows you to pursue the best path for you and your family. To schedule a consultation with Michael Hiller in Houston call 713-784-9500.