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Celebrate With a Season of Sharing

In Community, Lifestyle, Parenting by Carly Baker

We live in a culture of shopping and consumption. This is especially true during the holiday season. If you think about it, November through the end of December have become one endless sales event, designed to separate you from as much money as possible. Where Black Friday was the big shopping event before the holidays, there is now Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday Preview Sales, Cyber Monday, “12 Days of Doorbusters”, and countless other “can’t miss” online and in-store shopping opportunities. Oh yes, don’t forget after-Christmas clearance sales or using all of those gift cards you received. Unfortunately, the culture of gift giving has changed with the times. What was once special—the act of going to a store and thoughtfully choosing a gift—has become replaced with wish lists and no-question …

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Coping Through the Holiday Season

In Health by Elizabeth Stephenson

The holiday season can be an emotionally tough time for anyone. In fact, underneath the surface of all the jokes and cliché stories about family dysfunction during the holiday, are layers of true anxiety and hurt. This can come from unhealthy dynamics with family members, long-brewing resentment, and throwing explosive combinations of people into a shared space with alcohol. If you have recently separated, divorced, or do not have visitation with your children during the holidays, this creates an entirely new wrinkle into the holiday season that can make it feel unbearable. This causes some people to resort to unhealthy methods of coping with these feelings, such as alcohol, overeating, or overspending. As you head into this holiday season, please heed the following advice to survive through healthy coping. Acknowledge …

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Finding Reasons to Be Thankful

In Health, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

When you are separated or have experienced a recent divorce, the holiday season can be rough. You may not be at your best, yet are expected to show up to social events and family gatherings. There is also the constant barrage of shows and advertisements showing happy families eating a feast or opening presents. While navigating your way through this season, it can be helpful to remind yourself of the many things you have to be thankful for. Children — If you have children, appreciate what a blessing they are to your life, and show them through your words and actions that you are grateful for them. As a parent, you can impart the same lessons of thankfulness and humbleness on them. Beyond the gifts, shopping, and eating that come …

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Easter and Holiday Visitation Schedules

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

Visitation is an incredibly important consideration when reaching agreements or seeking orders regarding child custody. Because of children’s school schedules, extracurricular activities, and need for stability, it is rare that parents with a joint or sole physical custody arrangement have the exact same amount of time with the children. It is far more common for one parent to be the primary caretaker of the children; and therefore, the difference in access to the child is made up through a healthy visitation schedule for the other parent. What Does the Law Consider When Weighing Visitation? The primary consideration under the law in issues of custody and visitation is the best interest of the child. Further, unless there is evidence that a parent is unfit, it is presumed that a continued relationship …

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Coping with Holiday Stress

In Health, Lifestyle, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

When you have experienced a separation or divorce, the holidays can be a particularly brutal time. You are in the midst of a major life change, you are grieving, and you are adjusting. Unfortunately, you are also in a position where you are pressured into social functions based on the time of the year. Whether this is at holiday work functions, parties, or family gatherings, you are no doubt subjected to questions, comments, or looks that serve to remind you of your life change. Or worse, people who were talking about something go silent as you approach. Ultimately, even if your friends and family have the best intentions, you cannot help but feel lonely during the holidays. In addition, if you have children, you have the added sadness and stress …

Festivus and Finding Joy in the Holiday Season

In Lifestyle, Relationships by Sarah Hink

December 23rd is quickly approaching, that means Happy Festivus! If you’ve never heard of this holiday, or only have some vague familiarity with it, don’t worry: Festivus is an entirely fictional holiday. The origin of this fictional holiday is television writer Dan O’Keefe, who celebrated this tradition with his family and incorporated it into a 1997 episode of the hit comedy Seinfeld. In Seinfeld, the character George Costanza attempts to prove that his family celebrates Festivus in order to cover up a lie. While this fictional holiday was popularized as a silly storyline in a 90’s sitcom, the concept has taken on a life of its own. In fact, numerous politicians, cities, media companies, and even Google have adopted various Festivus traditions. What is Festivus? Celebrated on December 23rd, Festivus …

Having a Safe Holiday Season

In Child Custody, Domestic Violence by Elizabeth Stephenson

  New Direction Family Law wishes you the happiest of holidays. This season, we hope that you have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and to genuinely reflect on your life, love, and loss over the past year. That’s all any of us really want: holidays full of joy and forever memories. Unfortunately, holidays can also truly be incredibly lonely times for some people. When it comes to separation, divorce, and child custody, holidays can be emotionally charged times of bad decisions, conflict, and volatility. It is therefore important to take steps to make sure that you have a safe and emotionally healthy holiday season. Step 1: Addressing Danger First and foremost, if there is a history of domestic violence or child abuse, and you believe that you or …

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Co-Parenting During the Holidays

In Child Custody, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

Depending on your circumstances, holidays can be a strange mix of wonderful and terrible. They are great in that we have time off to spend with our families and loved ones. But they can also be times of loneliness and family conflict. Even for intact families, there are in-laws that battle over valuable time. When parents are separated or divorced, holiday visitation isn’t easy on anyone and these battles only intensify. This is why it is important to know what to expect during the holidays and to take the appropriate steps to foster an emotionally healthy holiday season for yourself, your children, and even your former partner. The holidays will not be smooth or easy, and that is normal. Following a separation, everyone is adjusting to their new normal. It …

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All Treats, No Tricks: Tips for Co-Parenting this Halloween

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

Halloween after divorce does not have to be scary, even if you are sharing custody of the children with your ex.  Sometimes your separation agreement or custody order may speak to how you are to split the fall holiday, either with the non-custodial parent getting a few hours that day or by alternating the holiday annually. However, many times Halloween is not addressed alongside the major holidays in ordinary custody arrangements, or perhaps you do not yet have a formalized custody agreement. Regardless, Halloween can still be happy and fun for both parents and child, and should be! Here are a few tips to help make co-parenting on Halloween a treat for everyone: Actively communicate As always, everyone’s case is different, but, if it is possible, both parents should be …