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Divorce and Family Law

How do you avoid the ‘divorce penalty’ at Thanksgiving?

When you’re separated or divorced at Thanksgiving and without your kids, it can be difficult to feel excited at all. You may just prefer to stay quietly at home until the kids are back from their other parent’s house.

That could, however, be too much of a price to pay for your divorce. You may be without your kids on certain holidays following a temporary or final custody agreement, but that doesn’t mean your life has to be incomplete. Experts say that you can take positive action by taking control over your Thanksgiving celebration. Here’s how to do it:

Don’t buy into illusions

If you think back carefully, you’ll probably realize that Thanksgiving is never quite as grand as it seems in the movies. It’s okay if yours doesn’t live up to some ideal image in your head.

Have dinner anyhow

Since the kids aren’t around for Thanksgiving, see if you can hold a “Friendsgiving” for your best-unattached pals. Then, have a second Thanksgiving once the kids are back — only make it something special, like Chinese in an actual restaurant. Allow that to become your new tradition on years that you and the kids aren’t together.

Get off social media

You may have a harder time focusing on what you have if you start comparing your life to that of your friends and relatives. Social media can darken your mood if you’re not feeling as joyful as others, so consider avoiding it until the holiday is over.

Allow the kids to be happy

No matter what, allow the kids to be happy about seeing their other parent and other relatives over the holiday. Your turn for custody during the holidays will come, so let yourself experience their joy vicariously.

Remember, child custody decisions and parenting plans can be modified when they stop working. If your child custody plan is no longer right for your children’s needs, find out more about how you can revise a parenting agreement.