The holidays can be a difficult time for people in the midst of custody and divorce matters—especially the first holiday season in transition. When children divide their holidays between two parents’ separate households, or when clients face the holidays without their spouses for the first time, the holidays may feel like a lonely time. Family law attorney Jennifer J. Riley recommends to her clients that they focus on developing new holiday traditions. “This way, rather than feeling the holidays from a position of loss, creating new holiday traditions can help our clients and their children feel excitement during the season,” she explains.
During the busy holiday season, many people feel overwhelmed. Riley says this is exactly why they recommend to clients that they pause the legal proceedings until the new year. “It can be so hard to face the first holiday season without a former spouse and his or her family. Taking a breather from the legal issues allows everyone time to focus on self-care, to allow time to experience the stages of grief—which go hand-in-hand with family law legal proceedings—and to listen to what they need as they design new holiday celebrations. It also helps to ensure that emotions during the holiday time do not guide people in making legal decisions they might later regret.”
Riley recommends that clients turn to their friends and family to help design new traditions. “Maybe the day after Christmas becomes a client’s annual spa day with her best friends. Or, in families where children split their holidays, maybe Christmas Eve becomes the new ‘Christmas morning’ for the children, complete with a special visit from Santa. It’s important to focus on making the transition positive. The holidays may be different, but they can still be joyful, even in times of transition.”
The Law Offices of Jennifer J. Riley are located at 585 Skippack Pk., Ste. 200, Blue Bell and 900 West Valley Rd., Ste. 703, Wayne. For more information, call 215-283-5080 or visit JJRLawFirm.com. December 2017