Divorce and anger tend to go hand-in-hand. While Michigan’s a no-fault state that doesn’t require legalized slandering, or belittling each other to terminate the marriage, the marital angst and anger can hang around on both ends for years. According to Wallet Hub, Michigan as a whole may be the 29th happiest state to live in America. But Detroit ranks as the nation’s unhappiest city just after Cleveland. Custody issues and the holidays can easily add to the stress.
Your divorce attorney can easily help you devise a custody agreement that works for everyone involved. But even the most devoted parents can have trouble negotiating the divorce as well as potential custodial issues during the holidays. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips to ensure your mid to post-divorce parenting skills stay strong and everything goes as smoothly as possible during the holidays.
Remember Who the Holidays Are For
It’s easy to get caught up and carried away with post-divorce blues, especially when the marital split occurs around the holidays. But remember who the holidays are really about… the kids. You and your spouse may have planned every detail of the holidays together in the past, but this year is different. Divorce isn’t just hard on adults. Kids tend to feel as though they have no say in any part of their lives. So why not bend on the holidays and ask the kids outright how they want to spend the holidays? Just redirect suggestions and demands of too much togetherness with the ex. And who knows, some priceless new traditions may just be formed in the process.
Play Nice with the Ex
You’ll need to be an adult and accept the fact that the holidays are important to your ex as well. So if you share custody of the kids, you’ll need to prepare yourself and play nice with your ex. That doesn’t mean you need to be besties or that you can’t escape the room or physical location altogether to avoid disaster. But you need to be willing and able to work together. Devise a plan and figure out all the details well before the days arrive. And discuss it with the kids in an upbeat and exciting way. That will help ensure everyone’s on board and tantrums are limited–for the kids and parents.
Avoid the Competition Cycle
While the marriage trends in Michigan are rising, the divorce rates have been pretty steady for years. In fact, the entire state sees fewer than 30,000 divorces annually, or approximately six divorces per 1,000 residents. Nonetheless, your kids are likely a lot smarter than you think and chances are they’ll know what’s going on long before you admit you’re heading towards divorce. While kids are resilient, they’re also tricky. So expect more than a fair amount of guilt and pressure around the holidays. However, it’s essential not to fall into that trap.
If you and your ex are able to be civil, discuss the holiday budgets and what Santa will bring to each household. Split it equally and avoid flashy surprises meant to buy affection and outdo the other parent. It’ll just come back to bite you in the end anyway. And if you need help to stay on track, contact your Michigan divorce attorney for other suggestions and ideas.