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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > How To Survive Your First Holiday After Divorce

How To Survive Your First Holiday After Divorce


The signs of the holiday season are already upon us, the supermarket displays with jars of nutmeg lined up next to rectangular plastic boxes of crispy fried onions, the food-themed decorations everywhere.  The holidays can be a source of family stress regardless of your marital status; even if you and your siblings don’t fight like cats and dogs like you did when you were younger, being with them for the duration of a holiday dinner is still a downer.  If you are single and your siblings and cousins are partnered, then the holidays highlight your loneliness.  If you and your spouse get along well for most of the year, then holiday visits from your in-laws are a low point.  Your first holiday after divorce is a unique kind of pain, however; loneliness and anger combine in ways you never knew they could, and all the while, you try to stay strong for your children.  Your best defense at a holiday and every other stressful time of year is an ironclad parenting plan, and a Birmingham child custody lawyer can help you draft and enforce one.

Your Holiday Plans Are Enshrined in a Legally Enforceable Court Order

The good news is that, from a legal perspective, your ex-spouse does not have the right to throw a wrench in your holiday plans at the last minute.  Your court-ordered parenting plan indicates which days of the year the children will be with you and which days they will be with your ex.  That means that, if the parenting plan says that the children are with you from Wednesday morning until Sunday evening during a holiday week in even-numbered years, these holiday plans have the force of law.  If you planned to travel to Tennessee to visit your parents for a holiday, your ex cannot stop you, even if, a week before the holiday, his mother decides to come to town and threatens to die of a broken heart if the children are not present at dinner.  Tell your ex that his mother can change her ticket to stay in Alabama an extra day and have dinner with the children on Sunday after you come back.

Managing Holiday Stress During and After Divorce

The things your ex says to your children in the first year after you divorce hurt more than anything your ex said directly to you during your marriage, from competing with you in regard to giving the children a fun holiday to blaming you for your ex’s financial hardship.  Badmouthing your ex in front of your children only counts against you in a divorce case.  Surrounding yourself with family and friends during the holidays can help keep the mood cheerful for your children and create happy memories for them.  While you must refrain from talking in front of your children about how much your ex hurt you, you have every right to talk to your parents and siblings about the pain of divorce as you have another slice of pecan pie after the children have gone to bed.

Contact Peeples Law About Co-Parenting During the Holidays

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you draft a parenting plan that will prevent holiday stress.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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