Holidays

Three Tips to Help You Navigate the Holidays

When you are divorced with kids, Christmas and Hanukkah can become minefields that make previous family headaches look simple. But there’s good news: There are a number of steps that you can take ahead of time to make things better for everyone involved.

It pays to go into the holiday season with a plan. This year, I’m offering three helpful tips that will allow you to do just that.

  1. Remember and enshrine the idea that the holiday isn’t about you. It’s about making it calm, fun, and memorable for your kids. First, work out the parenting strategy in advance, and let the kids know what is going to happen and when. Make sure you don’t convey to the kids that you are going to be lonely without them. Figure out what you’ll be doing, tell your kids, and let them know that you will have fun and be fine—and that they should have fun and will be fine with the other parent. Kids pick up on emotions very easily and tend to feel responsible for a parent’s happiness in divorce. There is a pretty general standard plan when dealing with Christmas parenting time, assuming the kids aren’t
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Tricky Halloween Parenting

When I was a child, Halloween was the day my father came home from work early to walk my sister, brothers, and I around the neighborhood in the costumes my mother made. Store-bought costumes were out of the question. The rule was that all homework had to be done before we could go out. While my dad walked up and down neighbors’ driveways with us, my mother stayed home to hand out candy that she stockpiled in a big ceramic pumpkin. My mom loved to see all of the costumes on the children who came to the door. When we got home, she checked our loot for anything suspicious, which also gave her the chance to steal those Nestle Crunch bars she coveted.

Families have different rules and traditions surrounding Halloween. But when parents decide to separate and divorce, things inevitably change. Some parents hold tight to try to keep traditions alive, while others seek to immediately change things. Parents often cannot agree on who will buy the costumes and who will take the children trick-or-treating. Sometimes, parents insist that they both walk around with the children, which is good solution in situations that are truly amicable, but creates … Keep reading

2016/17

Hi there,

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, despite what may be trying circumstances. Throughout the year there were many changes and clarifications in basic divorce law that will affect the many of you that are planning to divorce in 2017. This period between Christmas and New Years is what I consider the calm before the storm, as January is generally a very busy month for divorce lawyers. This quiet week is the perfect opportunity to both reflect on the past and prepare for the future. Below is a list of blog posts that explain the recent changes to divorce law and what those changes mean for you.

As we say goodbye to 2016, I wish each of you a happy and healthy new year. See you in 2017!

2016 Changes and Clarifications to Divorce Law

Best,
Nancy… Keep reading

Hi there,

I was somewhat surprised a couple of weeks ago to be asked for an interview by the talented Globe writer, Cindy Atoji Keene. It was published on Sunday, and reading it made me realize just how important it is to be able to let go of that “salad spinner” and focus on what’s truly important in the end game in a divorce.

There’s a salad spinner in every case — it could be the cat, the couch, or whether the kids come to visit at 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. Imagine fighting over a stuffed parrot, horse semen, or geese. These were all expensive court battles that I was involved in, and it all comes down to control.

I like to call it the Salad Spinner War, after one of my first cases that involved a short-term marriage with a wealthy Brahmin gentleman and his younger wife from abroad. We came to a fair division of assets and property, and because I was young and stupid, I agreed to go to the house to help divvy up miscellaneous items. We went through the antiques, oriental rugs, lamps, and furniture, and then came to the kitchen, where they started

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A Look Back at 2015

2015 / 2016
Out with the old, in with the new!

Hi there,

We’ve had an exciting year here at the Divorce Law Monitor! We’ve added new contributors, expanded readership and updated our look. We’re happy to announce that in 2016 we will debuting a new mobile-friendly layout, so you’ll be able to more easily access posts on the go! Before we head into 2016, below are this year’s five most highly sought-after topics. … Keep reading

holidays

holidays
The holidays can be fun for your whole family with a little preparation.

Hi there,

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with it all of the holidays of the season! This time of year is particularly tough for folks who are just getting used to a coparenting situation. It’s also a challenging time for divorce lawyers and family courts, as lots of families are unable to settle holiday scheduling differences without recourse to the courts.

This year:

  • Thanksgiving is on November 26.
  • Hanukkah is December 6-14.
  • Christmas falls on a Friday.
  • Kwanzaa is December 26-January 1.

Work Together to Figure Out Your Schedule for the Holidays

If you haven’t already created a holiday parenting schedule with your ex, you should contact them right away to work out the details. Not everyone has a plan already set either by agreement or judgment, so if you can’t agree on your own you may need to contact your attorney to sort out the situation. With the timeframes for setting motion dates and the court scheduling problems that may arise, this needs to be tackled as soon as possible.

In most cases, scheduling should be possible without … Keep reading

Christmas presents beneath a Christmas tree

Hi there,

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a safe and fun holiday.

Christmas presents beneath a Christmas tree
Presents for your kids can be under the tree in no time with a little coordination!

Even though Christmas décor has been up for weeks, I’m just beginning to coordinate Christmas shopping for my grandkids with their parents and their other grandparents. It’s an organizational hassle in an intact family, and far more complicated in a separated or divorced family. In past years I’ve posted about how to divide the holidays, and also about how to coordinate parenting time using apps like Google Calendar and My Family Wizard. … Keep reading

Christmas and Winter Vacation -- Have You Made Plans?

Hi there,

This is the time of year when newly separated parents have to figure out how to handle time with the kids during Christmas and winter vacation. Even if this isn’t your first Christmas as a divorced family, there are still possibilities for change to past years’ plans, but it is never easy. If you haven’t reached an agreement for this time of year, you need to SOON.

One of the worst ways to end up handling this is to have to ask the court to decide for you. Many Massachusetts judges now have closed lists, which means if a certain number of cases are scheduled to come into court on a day that is deemed full, you will need to pick another motion day. Some judges are now scheduling in mid-January.

Remember also if the schedule for the first Christmas holiday is not really what you want, you can always discuss alternating the times next year. A holiday parenting plan where the holidays are equally important to both parents often works best by flipping year-to-year. That way the kids get to share with both parents, and they get to create new traditions, which will … Keep reading