By: Leslie Barrows
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Thanksgiving After Divorce
Being Grateful on Thanksgiving After Divorce
Given the options of having an interrupted life and sharing your kids versus never having them, any parent who loves their children will be grateful for them on Thanksgiving. After the divorce and custody process is finalized, we all must move on with our lives and that means dealing with the holidays.
The good news is nobody can tell you what to do or how to feel or act. Custody and visitation are something to get used to and your Thanksgiving is not going to be normal right away. Regardless of your feelings about not having your ex at the table, their presence, good or bad is still something that will be a part of you and your memories that all seem to rush back around times like Thanksgiving.
So, plan your meal, or not. Make plans to watch the parades, or not. Thanksgiving After Divorce is going to happen whether you like it or not. It also begins the Christmas season and you have much to prepare for and many people to see, including your children and extended family.
Custody and Visitation After Divorce
In Texas, custody and visitation plans follow the local county’s Standard Possession Order (SPO), a schedule laying out periods of access for the non-primary parent for visitation with the kids. Holidays like Thanksgiving alternate and the co-parent usually has the kids on odd-numbered years, from the last day of school before Thanksgiving until Sunday evening.
Even if your divorce decree includes the SPO or another custom schedule, as parents, you both can be flexible and trade time as you all may agree. For example, if relatives on one side are only in town on limited days, letting the kids come by, or sharing time on Thanksgiving is a nice gesture that can go a long way as you learn a new co-parenting relationship with your former spouse.
You Don’t Have to Change Your Routine on Thanksgiving After Divorce
While it is popular to talk about creating new traditions after divorce, there is no reason you must change anything about how you want to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Keeping tradition is something people hold dear. With birth and death, we all know the number of place settings may change over the years and the feeling is similar on Thanksgiving Day when your former spouse and kids are not there. You can still set your table and cook all the dishes you love. And if you choose not to invite any other people to come celebrate with you, then you will have more leftovers, unless your kids come back sooner and eat all those leftovers of dishes they may have been missing at their other Thanksgiving.
If you are interested in creating new traditions, read our blog article, Holiday Divorce Tips: “Making new traditions and keeping a sense of family.”
Give Yourself the Opportunity to Take as Much Time to Adjust
The first year after a divorce is going to be a time of change. You are on your own schedule and nobody can tell you how to feel about holidays like Thanksgiving. If you prefer to go out to eat instead, go for it. We all need time to reflect and at times it seems like we have nothing for which to be thankful. Just because things change, doesn’t mean we have to stop being thankful. At times we are so self-focused we fail to see all the good things in our lives. Allow yourself the time to reflect and proceed at your own pace.
Should You Still Make Plans with Former In-laws to Thanksgiving?
Since Emily Post published her book “Etiquette” in 1922, generations have attended to accepted customs and rules of polite conduct. Today, the Emily Post Institute maintains a website with business, wedding and lifestyle categories of articles. There are topics including Holidays and Celebrations as well as Separation and Divorce.
While you may not base your post-divorce holiday decisions on the musings of others in society, there may be a few things to think about.
Decisions about in-laws may follow concerns of sensitivity, respect, and privacy. Even if you do not think you are expected to address them about whether you will see them or not, consider that all our personal relationships are important. If you are close friends with a now-former in-law, you might text them and find a time to get together during Thanksgiving weekend if you chose not to invite them over or attend their celebration if you are invited.
Is There Wiggle Room on Thanksgiving Day?
If you have a good enough relationship with your ex, you might negotiate your kids’ short appearance on Thanksgiving Day, even if it’s only an hour or two to watch the parade with grandparents and take some family pictures. If distance or circumstance prevents you from seeing your kids on Thanksgiving, try scheduling a time to Facetime them or chat on Skype so they can say hello to family and everyone who may be with you.
It is important to show your kids that everyone still moves forward with happy lives despite the divorce.
Being Grateful with Children on Thanksgiving Regardless of the Situation
When you may feel stressed about your first or second Thanksgiving after divorce, think about how much everyone’s lives can change over the years. Imagine you and your children being the most grateful for the future ahead of everyone. Families will continue growing and as you set the table years in the future you may have a new spouse, children, grandbabies and more. Always be thankful.
Southlake Divorce Attorney Leslie Barrows Wishes Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving
At The Barrows Firm in Southlake, Leslie and her team of trial attorneys, paralegals and support staff know how challenging it can when the holidays approach during or after a divorce or custody case. Know you are not alone in dealing with life and its changes.