Cary Divorce Lawyer Jenny Bradley stresses that the most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself and not take any actions that may impact your divorce.

With holidays approaching, you may wonder how you’ll survive the social expectations of the season while navigating a divorce. Cary Divorce Lawyer Jenny Bradley stresses that the most important thing you can do during this time is to take care of yourself and not take any actions that may impact the outcome of your divorce.

Every adult knows that holiday stress, on its own, can add up quickly. It can be a struggle to keep up with common social expectations, including:  

  • work-related functions and events

  • the stress of finding the right gifts

  • travel, whether locally or between cities

  • extended time with family, often sleeping under one roof

On their own, these things can leave you physically and mentally depleted. If you are also in the middle of a divorce, you may wonder how you’ll manage through the stress.

Family law attorney Jenny Bradley understands the challenges of this time of year. She recommends planning ahead, so you and your children have a good idea of what to expect over the holidays.

“One of the best ways to prepare for the holidays is to set clear boundaries as far in advance as possible,” suggests attorney Bradley. “Defining your time and holding space specifically for yourself will help keep you from getting overwhelmed while still allowing you to spend cherished time with your loved ones.”

As a first step, pull out a calendar and highlight the days you will be together with your kids. In another color, mark the events that you will attend together. Finally, highlight the events or activities you will do on your own, when the kids are not with you. 

Having a visual representation of your time will help identify periods or activities where boundaries are required. For example, you may need to:

  • Ask for help with childcare so you can attend an event

  • Decline activities if your calendar is too busy 

  • Pass on events you don’t want to attend

  • Give yourself the explicit permission to say ‘no’ – No is a complete sentence 

If you are navigating your first holidays as a divorced or separated parent, keep in mind that you may need extra space and time to process emotions. 

If you know that an upcoming event will be difficult, but feel you must attend, be strategic about your time. Have an early exit plan ready to avoid lingering or feeling trapped. Where possible, avoid conversations you know will be difficult or even toxic.

As a newly single parent, one of your main goals is likely to help your children have as normal of a holiday as possible. You want them to feel comfortable and safe, even when their worlds have changed so much. 

A few ways to make the holidays easier for your kids include:

  • Helping them understand what to expect—what will their holidays look like this year? 

  • Communicate clearly with your former partner regarding time arrangements

  • Avoid putting your former spouse down in front of the kids or asking too many questions when they return home from a visit

  • Where possible, try to protect your time with your children—take care of administrative tasks and errands when they are not with you, so you can give them the attention they need and deserve 

  • Maintain traditions that feel meaningful to your children, acknowledging that things are different/modified from the way they were

Helping your children to adjust to their new situation through the holidays will reduce the stress in your life, too.  

If you are facing the prospect of a divorce this holiday season, you need to remember that you are not alone. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you navigate the divorce process so you can focus your energy on your loved ones. Contact Triangle Smart Divorce today to discuss your situation.

About Triangle Smart Divorce

Jenny Bradley is a family law attorney at Triangle Smart Divorce. The Cary, North Carolina firm is not your typical divorce law firm; they are committed to figuring out what is best for you and your family. Triangle Smart Divorce offers a wide range of services, whether you need premarital agreements, domestic partnership agreements, mediation, mediation, enforcement, child custody, or other services related to family law.