Divorce during the Holidays – What to do?

As we come upon the end of summer and the Labor Day weekend, it is important to make sure that you stay calm and collected during the weekend’s festivities.  Whether you are just thinking about the idea of separating from your spouse, your divorce is in its final stages, or you are somewhere in between – this is a weekend to focus on family and children, and not cause unnecessary stress at family gatherings.

Here are a couple of tips to consider, no matter where you are in the process:

  1. Maintain a cool head.  Divorce is an emotional, traumatic event and everyone handles it a little different.  If you are starting to think about it, but haven’t yet told your spouse – this weekend is probably not the time to do it.  If you are in the middle of a highly contested divorce, try to stay with a group of supportive family members who can help you keep your mind off of what is going in.  If the unspeakable happens, (your spouse denies your visitation, or confronts you at a family gathering), don’t react, instead take a minute to calm down and respond appropriately to the situation.
  2. Watch the Alcohol.  With holidays comes drinking.  Don’t overdo it, especially if you have a tendency to lose control when you have been drinking.  Don’t put yourself in a bad situation that will only hurt your divorce/custody case.  It goes without saying that you shouldn’t drink and drive, and if you have the kids this weekend, keep the drinking to a minimum in front of them.  Also, as mentioned above, don’t use alcohol as liquid courage to tell your spouse that you want to split – it won’t end good.
  3. Enjoy time with family – Whether you are spending the weekend with your spouse or your own family, try to make the most of it.  Stay active and keep your mind on the activity you are doing and not the emotional firestorm that is going on in your head.  Be active – work on the house, mow the lawn, take the kids for a hike or to a park – don’t sit around stewing in your own depression.
  4. Bite your tongue – This kind of fits with the respond, don’t react comment from above, but it is a good piece of advice.  If your spouse tries to provoke you, walk the other way.  Don’t engage in pointless arguments that will only ruin your time off.  If you need to leave for a couple of hours – go to the movies or run some errands.  But don’t engage in reckless fighting and banter.
  5. Remember the Kids – Holiday weekends are for family and kids.  Enjoy the time you have with them.  When it is time to send them back to the other spouse, make sure their bags are packed and their clothes are clean.  Make sure they are fed.  Don’t let the kids get brought down by your bad mood.  Show them how much you love them by talking to them and spending time with them.

These are just a few tips to help you get through the weekend.  Enjoy yourself and when you are ready to get back to the business of divorce, give my office a call.

Flickr photo courtesy of Mubina H