For many people, Christmas is full of fun, excitement and time spent with family. But if you’re going through a separation or divorce, and you have children, it can be incredibly difficult to navigate the inevitable expectations and high emotions that come with the festive season.
So how can you support your children and keep the magic alive whilst also managing the stress of a divorce? Take a look at our three top tips.
Be prepared to compromise
When you’re divorced, those special occasions throughout the year often look very different. After a while, you’ll settle into new routines and enjoy new traditions, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be challenges along the way.
It’s important to manage everyone’s expectations and have the conversations that need to be had well in advance. Successful co-parenting is all about effective communication, and it’s even more important to get these conversations started if you suspect that reaching a fair compromise with your ex spouse or partner is going to be difficult.
Try to think beyond what’s best for you and think about what will work well for the children. For example, are there certain wider family members that you know they’d like to see over Christmas? Is it possible for you and your ex spouse or partner to both be present when the children open presents on Christmas morning? Whilst every family will have different circumstances, these are just a couple of the compromises that might make Christmas run a little smoother.
Solid organisation can be the key to any great Christmas. Whether you’re divorced or not, there can be a lot of plates to spin when planning for the festive season. However, if you’re divorced, it’s even more crucial to stay organised.
There’s a lot to think about. For example, agreeing on presents ahead of time is a good idea. If you’re each buying separate presents, how much will you spend? Not everyone is in the same financial position, so it’s crucial that you set limits to avoid any disappointment and resentment. If you’re buying presents from the both of you, who will do that? Making decisions about these things sooner rather than later will help you to plan both practically and financially.
If you suspect that your ex-spouse or partner will make the Christmas arrangements difficult, consider seeking legal advice. There’s no such thing as ‘too soon’ here, and the most important thing is not to leave it too late to try and come to an agreement.
Present a united front
Maintaining a united front with your ex-spouse or partner is crucial. Whatever the arrangements, avoid bickering and fighting with your ex in front of your children, and never make them feel as though they have to choose. Divorce is stressful enough for children without that added pressure.
Christmas can be a tense time and you may find you need someone to talk to. But no matter their age, don’t complain about your ex to your children. Meet with friends or find someone who isn’t directly involved in your separation to speak to.
Coping with a divorce is hard enough at the best of times, but Christmas and other special occasions can add an extra layer of uncertainty. Don’t worry alone. If you’re struggling with this or any other family law problem, get in touch with Harrogate Family Law today. We’re here to support you, all year round.