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The holidays don't have to be a battle for the divorced - I

While a divorce can provide a person with a much-needed escape from an otherwise unhappy marriage and enable them to pursue life on their own terms, it is not without its unique set of challenges.

For instance, a divorced spouse must typically deal with everything from acclimating to new living arrangements, adapting to regular spousal maintenance/child support payments, and, perhaps most significantly, adjusting to less time with their children.

As if this wasn't difficult enough, a divorced spouse must also learn to adjust to a new reality concerning the holiday season, a time of the year they have more than likely long associated with spending time with their family.

Fortunately, there are some basic steps that divorced spouses can take to help ensure that the holiday season doesn't become emotionally overwhelming and remains one of the more enjoyable times of the year.

Resist the urge to compete: In the aftermath of your divorce, you may have had to make significant changes to your household finances, including how much you can allocate for presents for your children. While this may be a difficult proposition to accept, it can become even more so if your former spouse elects to spend a substantial sum on holiday gifts for the kids. In these scenarios, experts advise people to resist the urge to compete with their former spouse or confront them about their extravagant spending. Instead, they advise offering support, as your children will always love you no matter how much you give them and will derive untold emotional benefits from a conflict-free holiday season.

Remember just how far a little bit of nice goes: While it may be difficult to fathom, experts advise divorced spouses to go out of their way to be nice and even forgiving to their former partner over the holiday season. Such a tactic, they argue, will not only make things more enjoyable for kids and but also serve to improve communication such that future conversations are more about compromise than conflict.

Take care of yourself: Whether you were divorced six months or six years ago, the holiday season can prove to be very difficult and even very lonely if you don't take steps to take care of yourself. To that end, experts advise divorced spouses to make plans, whether that includes spending more time with friends, volunteering in the community or embarking on a major project. While these activities may not cure your blues from being away from your children or missing certain aspects of your marriage, it can go a long way toward taking your mind off these difficult topics.

Stay tuned for more tips throughout the holiday season ...

If you would like to learn more about divorce, spousal maintenance, child custody or other family law issues here in Texas, consider speaking with a dedicated and determined legal professional.

Source: The Huffington Post, "10 tips to enjoy the holidays post-divorce," Diane Danois, Nov. 12, 2013

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