For families affected by divorce or contentious child custody proceedings, the holidays are often particularly difficult. Scheduling parenting time and holiday celebrations, of course, can be a challenge for divorced parents, but the real struggle is often internal. A divorce or child-related legal matter can leave you feeling angry, hurt, and lonely, especially amidst the joy of family gathered together for Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter holiday festivities. In the spirit of the holiday season, there some steps you can take that may allow the healing process to begin and open the door to a happier future.
If you are like most people who have experienced a divorce, you probably feel a certain measure of guilt about your situation. We tend to place a great deal of pressure on ourselves regarding our relationships, and when they breakdown, we often blame ourselves for the “failure.” It is, however, very rare for a marriage to break down due to the actions or behavior of just one spouse. Both partners usually can claim some responsibility.
It takes a very mature person to admit their mistakes and accept responsibility for his or her behavior, but that does not mean you deserve to suffer with guilt forever. You cannot change the past; you can only take action now to create a better future. Forgive yourself for whatever you believe you did wrong, and, if necessary, reach out to your ex-spouse and ask for forgiveness. Then, allow yourself to enjoy the holidays with a renewed sense of happiness and hope.
If you and your ex have children together, the two of you will continue to be a part of one another’s lives for years to come. Your relationship, however, does not need to remain cold, distant, and tense. As time goes by, the intense emotions of your divorce are likely to fade. When they do, think about the possibility of rekindling a friendship with your former partner, one that promotes mutual respect and understanding as co-parents.
When your child’s other parent comes to drop off or pick up your child this holiday season, consider inviting him or her in for a cup of coffee. Rebuilding trust will take time but with patience and kindness, it is possible. If you feel ready, you may even invite your ex to share in your Christmas celebration with your child. In addition to promoting a healthier relationship between the two of you, celebrating together can demonstrate to your children that you are a parenting team, regardless of the past.
Happy Holidays From Our Family to Yours
At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., we are grateful for the opportunity to serve the legal needs of families throughout Kane County and the surrounding areas. We would like to thank our loyal clients for choosing our firm and wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. As always, if our experienced St. Charles family law attorneys can be of service to you, please call us at 630-377-7770 for a free consultation.