November 1, 2021
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain
The Halloween decorations have been packed away for another year, and the air is crisp. It’s Thanksgiving time— again. Despite the pandemic and all we’ve been through in the past year or two, the Thanksgiving holiday always seems to sneak up on us each year.
Along with the usual festivities— the parade, the pies, the pageantry— is the meal itself, and with it, making small talk with relatives or friends you may not see often. All of this can be a lot in a normal situation, but throw in going through a divorce, and Thanksgiving can suddenly feel like too much to bear sometimes. In this blog post we’re going to address a few ways to make Thanksgiving more enjoyable if you’re dealing with a divorce or separation:
- Discuss a parenting plan for the holidays immediately. After Thanksgiving, of course, comes the onslaught of Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s. Discuss with your co-parent where your child(ren) will be for the holiday season of 2021. Is there a fair and equitable compromise? Might a child be able to split a holiday between two homes? Do you trade Thanksgiving for, say, Christmas Eve (the most magical night for many children)? All of this should be discussed civilly as soon as possible.
- Make a plan for yourself. What are you willing to cook? Who are you willing to host? Dealing with the end of your marriage, how much can you really do for Thanksgiving this year? Be honest with yourself, and know whatever the answer is, it’s okay. And if your children are going to be with your co-parent for Turkey Day, make sure you have a plan for your holiday. Whether it’s with your parents, relatives or a so termed friendsgiving, most people don’t want to be alone for the holiday. And if you are planning to be alone, make a plan too: is there a special meal you want to cook (no pressure to cook turkey!), or a movie you’ve been wanting to see in the theatres? Treat yourself.
- Decide how much you’re willing to share about your separation and/or divorce with your family beforehand. Prepare a cup of coffee or tea and be honest with yourself: how much of your personal life do you want to discuss over Thanksgiving dinner with a glass of wine (or two) with your relatives? This holiday, with its long meal, overabundance of food and, yes, alcohol, is notorious for deteriorating into family squabbles. It’s okay to have personal boundaries— there’s a reason it’s called personal. Work it out with yourself beforehand, craft a plan, and stick to it.
- Be kind. To yourself, to your children, to your co-parent, to your relatives— to everyone. Yes, sometimes it’s not easy— the holiday season, with its impact on the family budget and time-suck, is notoriously stressful, and it can be easy to lose your temper. Take a deep breath and remember everyone is trying; everyone is dealing with something, and just as they may not be privy to your turmoil, you may not be privy to their personal life either. So be kind.
- Take the long view. Especially with the majority of the adults in the country having received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and the pandemic (fingers crossed) receding as we head towards the winter months, there’s an expectation for this holiday season to be extra wonderful. The best turkey, the perfect gift, the most lights! Remember, though, the holidays roll around like clockwork every year, and if you’re going through a painful time right now, it may not be perfect, or even much fun. That’s okay. Forgive yourself your mistakes and take the long view: Thanksgiving happens every year.
- Be thankful. That’s what the holiday is all about, and no matter you are on your divorce journey, if you take a moment to think you’ll certainly find you have many things to be thankful for.
Finding yourself in need of a divorce lawyer this holiday season? Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC can help. Call (201) 488-1161 to schedule a consultation, and to learn more visit: https://lmllawyers.com/family-law/.