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The holidays are a time for family and celebration. If you’re dealing with a strained relationship, and you plan to file for divorce, the season that normally brings cheer only makes things more difficult. If children are involved, things can be even more unbearable. Here are a few tips to help you make it through.

Talk in Advance

When you’re loading everyone in the car to celebrate with the in-laws, it’s too late to have a conversation. First, decide how much information you will share with family members. You may not want to have difficult conversations over Thanksgiving dinner, but people will notice if you and your spouse aren’t talking to each other. Often, it’s enough to let those close to you know you’re going through things and need time to process.

Be Realistic

If you’re filing for divorce, you and your spouse have probably been struggling for a while. The holidays usually make things harder. Adjust your expectations for this year to reduce the pressure you put on yourself.

You don’t have to show up smiling at every social event. Christmas decorations don’t have to be elaborate. If you don’t deliver fresh-baked cookies like you normally do, it won’t ruin anyone’s year. Recognize you can return to old traditions and create new ones in the future; this may not be the year you enjoy them like before.

Plan for Custody

If you’ve already separated from your spouse, it can be hard to decide who gets the kids on special days. There’s only one Thanksgiving and one Christmas, and this may be the first year since they were born one of you hasn’t been with your children. Recognize the agonizing nature of the situation, and try to find a compromise.

Often family members will be willing to reschedule celebrations for the day before or after the event. Celebrate Christmas on the 24th or 26th, for instance, in exchange for having them on Thanksgiving Day.

Take Care of Yourself

Seek advice for dealing with your feelings and emotions, and find out what your children are going through by listening to podcasts on dealing with divorce. Find out what experts have to say on the etiquette of divorce. Try to get enough rest, and find a stress outlet like exercise or a hobby. Work with a qualified Minnesota family law attorney to help you prepare for the road ahead. Contact the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. to find out more.