The holidays can be a minefield for any family, but they’re particularly tricky for ex-spouses who must interact for the sake of their children. Try as you might, ignoring your ex just isn’t an option. You’ll find it far easier to keep your cool if you frame every interaction as an opportunity to set a positive example for your kids. The following etiquette best practices should also help you get through this tough time of year:

Compromise on Gifts

In some families, gift giving quickly becomes a competition to garner the child’s favor. Other parents prefer to provide gifts jointly — but this can also lead to conflict. Discuss gifts well in advance to get an idea for what your children want and what monetary value is acceptable to both parents. If you take issue with a particular gift, don’t gripe about it during holiday celebrations; wait until later to bring it up between the two of you.

Attend Holiday Programs

Sometimes, trading off on holidays is the only option, especially as you deal with large family gatherings in various locations. With school and extracurricular programs, however, missing is not an option. That holiday chorale or Nutcracker performance might not seem like a big deal, but your child will be crushed if you skip. You don’t need to sit next to your ex, but don’t be afraid to attend if he or she is also in the audience.

Don’t Shut Out the Former In-Laws

Your children’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins should continue to play a key role in their lives, even after the pain of divorce. Scheduling won’t be easy as you strive to carve out time for multiple holiday functions, but it’s important to save time for both sides of the family.

Whether you’re in the midst of divorce or dealing with the aftermath, you can benefit from compassionate counsel and proactive representation. You’ll find both at the Brown Law Offices. Reach out today to learn more.

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Photo of Cynthia Brown Cynthia Brown

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia Brown was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia…

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia Brown was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003.

Cynthia has handled a wide variety of family law matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child protective services, orders for protection and harassment restraining orders. Many of her clients have also asked her to provide guidance concerning their estate planning needs.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor, public defender and criminal investigator. In addition to her family practice, Cynthia routinely represents clients facing criminal charges such as DWI, assault, theft and criminal sexual misconduct.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, ATV riding and spending time with family.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Child Protective Services
  • Restraining Orders
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Bar Admission
  • Minnesota State Bar, 1998
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 1998
  • University of South Dakota, 1995
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Panel Attorney, Anoka County County Family Law Clinic
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper
  • Author, Family Law Forum
  • Author, Divorce Magazine