Melanie Cohn, LMSW
32841 Middlebelt Rd, Suite 409
Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Divorce and the holidays

Since the holidays are fast approaching and a slew of celebrity divorces (ahem, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) have bombard our newsfeeds I thought this would be a good time to talk about divorce and the holidays.  Obviously how to arrange visitation is a personal decision that must be made by the divorcing couple.  Some prefer to celebrate the holidays jointly, combining celebrations with their ex and can do so because they maintain an amicable relationship.   Other divorced couples cannot or may not want to blend their now two separate households.  Even if those close to you are advising you the absolute right way to handle it, please realize there is no right or wrong way maneuver this type of situation.

If you are recently separated perhaps you do not want to upend your children and believe continuing on with your usual traditions will best serve them.  And it is fine to do for a year or two until your kids are settled both physically and emotionally from the divorce.  But you also need to think longer term.  Your new mate may not be thrilled to go to your ex’s house for Christmas Eve.  She/he may balk at the idea of sharing a turkey leg with your ex at Thanksgiving dinner.

It is OK to do holidays separately.  Start your own traditions with the kids.  You and the kids want a tofu turkey for Thanksgiving?  Make it. 

Always wanted a pink Christmas tree but your spouse forbid it?  Go buy one. 

There is no right or wrong lane to drive down with this.  There are only two thing you need to consider if you want what is best for your children. First, be amicable with your ex.  There is no point to jointly celebrating if you two are fighting the whole time.  It will just cause stress and worry in everyone around you.   And second, whatever you decide be consistent with it.  I once had a client tell me her visitation schedule.  It was so complicated it took her ten minutes to describe the crazy inconsistent schedule.  By the end I was dizzy and confused.  If I felt that way I can’t imagine what her children felt having to live the chaos.  If your goal is for your children to have happy holidays and fond memories you may want to keep these suggestions in mind.