When a relationship unravels and two people no longer live together, there are legal as well as practical consequences that affect not only them, but also their children. The reality of the breakup often is felt most keenly on special days such as birthdays and holidays. Children especially can be subject to negative feelings and attitudes about the breakup and about the future. However, it is not necessary and definitely not desirable to continue to live in the past. With some effort, thoughtful planning and cooperation with an ex-spouse, a child and both his parents can learn to once again enjoy special days together in the context of the new living arrangement. A well-thought-out parenting plan is the first step in establishing new family traditions for special days. The assistance of an experienced child custody lawyer is indispensable to establishing an effective plan for you, your ex-spouse, and your child.
Five Tips for Enjoying Special Days with Your Children After Divorce
In part 1 of my previous post on the same topic, I discussed five tips for safeguarding the celebration of special days. There are many more bits of advice that can be proffered. Here are five more that might prove helpful to a divorced parent:
- Celebrate special days twice. For some former couples, the emotional strain of celebrating birthdays and holidays together for the children’s sake is not feasible. Fortunately, it is not necessary to subject yourself to such an ordeal. Many former couples give the children two birthday or holiday celebrations. That way each parent can create with their child new special traditions, and even keep some of the old ones going as well.
- Try not to overindulge. While it is tempting to use gifts or money to try to make up for feelings of personal guilt over the pain caused to the children by the divorce, in the end such offerings do little to actually foster the relationship and can in reality simply spoil your children. Give gifts, but not as a substitute for real affection in your relationship.
- Don’t forget yourself. In the event that you are not going to see your children on the special day, try not to fall into the trap of self-pity or depression. Come up with something you really enjoy to do and follow through with it so you don’t spend the day feeling sad and/or depressed.
- Create new traditions. Rather than simply rehashing old family rituals, it may help your children’s transition to the new family structure if you create your own set of special traditions. Be open to preserving what traditions your children may want to keep.
- Include new siblings with the old. In the event of a subsequent marriage or relationship with an individual having children, try to discuss with the new partner ways to include children from both sides of the family. The children may all have different ideas about how to celebrate the special days, so it is good to listen to everyone and incorporate as many of the various ideas as possible. There may be feelings of rivalry for the parents’ attention, so be careful to be fair to all sides of the family.
The pain of divorce does eventually pass, and most people simply move on with their lives. Practical advice on how to make the transition is helpful. Legal advice is critical. If you need help with creating a parenting plan,contact the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. Mr. Cunha has achieved a rating of 10 out of 10 (“Superb”) on Avvo.com for his legal abilities. The firm serves clients in the counties of Palm Beach (Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and Jupiter), Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Hendry. Call today toll free at 1 (800) 558-1227, or (561) 429-3924, for a consultation.