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Blog: Please Pass The Mashed Potatoes: How To Survive Holidays During A Divorce

April 29, 2015

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Divorce is a stressful and highly emotional process, and anxiety and worries can be exacerbated during the holidays. If adults feel the heightened sense of stress, those feelings are only magnified for children. While the Iowa courts do not require parents to celebrate holidays together with their children, if families can positively maintain their holiday traditions during the divorce process, the pressure that the children feel will be lessened.

A divorce is not contained only to the separation of spouses; it affects the entire family unit. Perhaps it has the greatest impact on children. Typically, a divorce makes a child feel his world is in limbo. Many times, children do not feel like they have a voice in the process or in the decisions being made that directly affect their lives. For many, holidays typically bring cheer, joy and laughter. However, during the divorce process, it may bring fear, tension and tears. Children want to have at least one day of “normalcy.” While parents do not have to sit at the table together passing the mashed potatoes, they should consider positive gestures and concessions that allow the children to celebrate the traditions and family customs that have already been established.

Some courts in Iowa have a default holiday schedule.  However, most judges are open to approving holiday schedules that are developed to maintain family traditions.  Some things to remember when considering a holiday schedule include current traditions, travel requirements, children’s desires, opportunities to spend time with extended families, school breaks, and opportunities to make new traditions.  However, the overall consideration should always be what is in the children’s best interest.  If the children remain the focus, there may be a day when the family can sit down and pass the mashed potatoes, but until then, a holiday schedule that focuses on the best interest of the children will need to be developed as part of the divorce process.

This blog post is authored by Roz Koob and meant for informational purposes only.  It is not meant to provide legal advice in any particular circumstance or factual situation.  You should consult with an attorney prior to taking any action regarding the information contained herein.

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