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3 tips for handling the first holidays after the divorce

The first holiday after a divorce may be difficult for all parties involved, whether it is Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving or some other special event. They may be especially tough on young children.

A time that often traditionally revolves around family is now uncertain for them since theirs is forever altered. Parents may help make it easier for them by doing a few things.

1. Communicate

In Indiana, child custody agreements, created based on the state’s parenting time guidelines, generally contain a section addressing holidays. It is important to follow the schedule specified unless both parents agree to make an exception. If one of them wants to take the kids for a day not listed as theirs in the order they need to talk about it.

2. Create new traditions

Acknowledging that the holidays are different now, but not necessarily in a bad way, may help the children acclimate. It lets them realize that there are still opportunities for fun and creating memories. It also prevents them from dwelling on what they “lost.”

3. Do not try to overcompensate

This is a common theme with divorced parents. They may expend extra funds trying to “buy” their kids’ affection or force them to take sides. They may even try to outcompete each other. Perhaps they simply feel guilty about the divorce and its effects on their offspring. Regardless, doing this is unlikely to help as much as trying to act normal, which may reassure the children and make them feel more stable during an unsteady time.

Focusing on the children during the first few holidays after a divorce is imperative for making their adjustment smoother. It is also vital to validate their emotions and concerns.