Developing New Holiday Traditions After Divorce

Developing New Holiday Traditions After Divorce

General Concepts and Approaches to Developing
New Holiday Traditions for You and Your Family

  • Rewrite your story with new holiday traditions and how you want it to play out.
  • Have a strategy-whatever that strategy may be.
  • Don’t be attached to the Holiday being only a specific day – spread the wealth of holiday spirit over multiple days and even weeks. 
  • Make plans early. Be happy to accept an invitation. 
  • Create your own connections with neighbors, and new friends in your community. 
  • Be sure to ask others you include in meals and parties if they have dietary restrictions. 
  • Traditions start by doing something more than once. Anything can become a tradition.
  • Input from the kids in terms of developing new traditions they want to create. 
  • Talk with kids about what traditions they want to keep and those they don’t care about. 
  • Also be able to say “no” and protect your energy levels during the holidays. And don’t try to outdo the ex or Grandparents.  
  • Have a backup plan in case those who said they would be there get sick or something comes up. 

28 Specific Ideas

  1. Host a Party and invite others who are in your situation
  2. Do holidays a week early so that you can avoid the demand on that one day.  Invite other family members because you know they won’t be otherwise engaged on the “un-holiday”.
  3. If you won’t have your child(ren) with you on Christmas, make with your Jewish friends to go to the movies and have Chinese (or any other non-holiday tradition- food. This could become your new tradition to look forward to. 
  4. Start a gratitude journal in mid-November, writing at least one thing each day that you can be grateful for. 
  5. Choose one day in November or December to spend a couple of hours helping others serving in a rescue mission or similar place, to get focused on others.
  6. Move your holiday dinner to another day – like Christmas Eve or Boxing day to accommodate all the kids and their in-laws.
  7. Do something new, get out in the world, and get to know each other in a new way… and have fun. For example, one new tradition is during the holiday break to do 3 things:
    • see the outdoor lights at botanical gardens,
    • see a musical, theater show, and 
    • see an exhibit at the art museum. 
    • I incorporate eating or snacking out at new places or favorites.  
  1. Time sharing – choose either Christmas or New Year’s Eve or Day so that the kids celebrate the holiday with both families
  2. Create a “memory jar.”  Throughout the year anytime anything exciting happens, write it down on an index card and put it in the jar.  On New Year’s Day, open the jar and read about all the exciting things that happened over the year. These can be big or small, for example, a good report card, hitting a triple during a baseball game, seeing a concert, whatever you deem noteworthy.  Kids and Adults look forward to opening the jar every year to remember all those good things and good times. 
  3. Plan a trip to some place other than home with your children, because they like to travel and you don’t want them to dwell on the fact that they are not in a traditional holiday home
  4. Brainstorm about what you can do, without prejudging the things that come from your mind. Often the things that sounds stupid turn out to be fun. To get to the real nuggets in brainstorming, sit down and make a list without judging or editing anything.  Read it again and add to it.  And read it a third time to add more to it.  Review the list a highlight the things that really tickle your fancy. 
  5. Enjoy the skits and singing that children do at the holidays  by going to a children’s program at a school or at a church.
  6. If the kids are young, have everyone dress up in Christmas pajamas, pick up a hot chocolate from a local coffee shop, and drive around to look at the pretty Christmas lights.
  7. Plan simple game night/dessert with kids and family or friends.
  8. Do things your ex never wanted to do and you have always wanted to do. Try new things! And remember your bucket list from earlier years!
  9. Put ideas for new restaurants and activities in a jar that you have always wanted to eat at or visit in a jar, and then pick one for a night out.  This is a good way to get out of your rut because we tend to be creatures of habit!
  10. Join the online resource:! You take care of people’s animals (you choose what kind) and stay for free. You can go all over the world and look after other people’s cats or dogs or bunnies – you choose.  It is great fun, you meet some great people, and it’s a great way of seeing the world too.
  11. Explore Meetups (an app for people who want to meet up with others rather than a weird dating app!!) for winter walks. Look for opportunities to explore new places and met great people
  12. Take a photo of each child/person/relative/friend and put them on your Christmas tree! You can use past and current photos on the tree and it’s always fun to look at them with the family or group of friends.
  13. Make homemade Christmas cards. Make and decorate ornaments.  This avoids the painful memories that might come from bringing out your ornaments that may hold special memories of celebrations past. 
  14. Go out and get a fresh cut Christmas tree and make pinecone/peanut butter/  birdseed ornaments and popcorn garland and have it outside to enjoy the birds feasting on your tree.  
  15. The first year after divorce, send holiday cards to all of your mutual friends and family. While some had chosen sides, if you reach out to everyone in good faith, those that want to will respond.  
  16. With a family of blended children who may not all live together all the time, invite them to share in each other’s unique holiday traditions.  Celebrate multicultural holidays. 
  17. Volunteer at a food pantry, soup kitchen, participate in a food or toy or clothing drive-give back and feel good you are helping others in need. Involve your children so that they can make a difference during the holidays for those who are facing difficult circumstances. 
  18. New Year’s idea- Invite single friends with their kids ( if they have) to a potluck and to watch the ball drop.
  19. Spend alternative holidays with your kids. When you don’t have the children for the holidays, plan a special trip or travel to a new location.  
  20. Create a vision Board for the New Year either by yourself or with your children, each making one for themselves.  Go shopping for magazines at Friends of the Library or at Thrift Stores. Or ask your neighbors for donations. (Maybe they would like to join you as well!)  Make popcorn, get plenty of glue and scissors and pieces of cardboard to use for base. 
  21. Create your own Family Manifesto.  With your children write down what they need for having a good home environment, how they want to interact with each other, what they want to share and what they want to keep private. How they want to celebrate success and celebrate special occasions. As the parent, write down how you agree to be as your best self and what you promise to do to support your kids as they grow and develop. Have everyone sign their name, frame it with pictures of all the family members. Hang it in a place where each person can see it in their daily activities. 

Thank you to all the CDC Certified Divorce Coaches® who contributed to this list of ways to celebrate the holidays with new traditions with your children or with your community of friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Feel free to share this with your clients and invite them to do the same. 

Keep the spirit of the holidays present – Peace and Goodwill for the New Year! 

Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #618
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767

Divorce can be an emotionally and financially taxing process, but mediation can offer a more amicable and cost-effective alternative to courtroom battles. In this blog post, we’ll explore the critical do’s and don’ts of divorce mediation. We’ll also introduce you to experienced divorce mediator and attorney, Dawn Renken, of The Renken Law Firm in Houston, who can help couples navigate this process and make thorough and informed choices when drafting a divorce agreement. Divorce is never easy, but divorce mediation can make the process smoother and more manageable. Unlike traditional divorce proceedings, which often involve lengthy courtroom battles, mediation allows couples to work together with a neutral third party to resolve their differences and create a mutually acceptable divorce agreement. When done right, mediation can save time, money, and emotional distress. However, divorce mediation isn’t a walk in the park. It requires open communication, patience, and a willingness to compromise. To help you navigate this process successfully, here are 10 things you should never say or do during divorce mediation: 1. Refusing to Communicate Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful mediation. Refusing to talk or listen can hinder progress and lead to a more protracted and contentious divorce. It’s essential to be open and honest about your concerns, needs, and preferences during mediation. Dawn Renken, an experienced divorce mediator, is skilled in facilitating constructive communication between divorcing couples. She can help create an environment where both parties feel heard and understood. 2. Letting Emotions Take Over Divorce is an emotionally charged process, but it’s crucial not to let your emotions dictate your actions during mediation. Outbursts of anger or resentment can escalate conflicts and hinder resolution. Instead, try to remain calm and composed. Dawn Renken specializes in guiding clients through the emotional challenges of divorce, helping them focus on their long-term interests rather than short-term emotions. 3. Failing to Prepare Preparation is key to a successful mediation. Failing to gather and organize your financial documents, legal papers, and other relevant information can lead to delays and misunderstandings. Dawn Renken can help you prepare for mediation by ensuring you have all the necessary documentation and information at your fingertips. 4. Being Inflexible Mediation involves compromise, and being too inflexible can hinder progress. While it’s crucial to protect your interests, it’s also essential to understand that some give and take will be necessary to reach an agreement. Dawn Renken has extensive experience in helping clients find middle ground and make compromises that are fair and reasonable. 5. Bringing Up the Past Dragging up past mistakes, hurts, or grievances during mediation is counterproductive. It can create tension and prevent a positive resolution. Dawn Renken can help keep the focus on the present and the future, guiding couples toward constructive discussions that lead to productive solutions. 6. Playing the Blame Game Blaming your spouse for the divorce or trying to make them feel guilty won’t help during mediation. In fact, it’s more likely to create animosity and impede the process. Dawn Renken can act as a neutral mediator, keeping discussions on track and preventing blame from becoming a roadblock to resolution. 7. Disregarding Your Children’s Well-Being If you have children, their well-being should be a top priority during divorce mediation. Failing to consider their needs, feelings, and interests can lead to contentious custody battles and long-term emotional repercussions. Dawn Renken is well-versed in helping divorcing parents create a custody and visitation plan that prioritizes their children’s needs. 8. Making Unrealistic Demands Mediation is about finding realistic and mutually beneficial solutions. Making extravagant or unrealistic demands can lead to an impasse. Dawn Renken can provide insight into what is legally and practically achievable, ensuring that both parties understand the boundaries and possibilities of their divorce agreement. 9. Hiding Assets Concealing assets during mediation is not only unethical but also illegal. It can result in severe legal consequences and damage your credibility in the eyes of the mediator and the court. Dawn Renken can help ensure full financial transparency during mediation, preventing disputes over hidden assets.

The Renken Law Firm has worked hard to earn a reputation for efficiently practicing diligent and focused legal services. During the course of our representation, you can expect expert legal advice in the areas of divorce, separation planning, custody disputes, child support cases, grandparents rights, prenuptial agreements, attorney general cases and enforcement actions. Prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as prenups, are contractual agreements made between two individuals prior to their marriage. They establish the framework for how assets, debts, and other financial matters will be handled should the marriage end in divorce or due to the death of one spouse. Prenuptial agreements provide a level of financial security and peace of mind to both parties by outlining their rights and responsibilities. When considering a prenup, it’s essential to work with a knowledgeable Prenup Attorney in Houston, like the experts at The Renken Law Firm, to ensure that your agreement is comprehensive and tailored to your unique needs. The Importance of a Prenuptial Agreement Prenuptial agreements are not only for the wealthy or those anticipating divorce. They can be invaluable tools for protecting individual assets, managing financial expectations, and ensuring a fair resolution should the marriage end. Here’s a breakdown of what is typically included in a prenuptial agreement: 1. Property Division One of the primary purposes of a prenup is to specify how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. This includes real estate, personal property, bank accounts, and investments. The agreement can outline whether certain assets will remain separate property, and which will be considered marital property, subject to division. By clearly defining these terms, you can protect your financial interests and avoid potential disputes in the future. 2. Spousal Support Spousal support, also known as alimony, can be a contentious issue during divorce proceedings. A prenuptial agreement can specify the amount, duration, and conditions under which spousal support will be paid. This allows both parties to have a clear understanding of their financial responsibilities, reducing the risk of prolonged legal battles. 3. Division of Debts Debts incurred during a marriage can be a significant source of concern if the relationship ends. Your prenup can outline how debts will be divided, whether they are considered marital or separate, and who will be responsible for paying them. 4. Inheritance and Estate Planning A prenuptial agreement can address how inheritance and estate planning matters will be handled. It can specify whether certain assets are to be kept separate and secure the interests of children from previous relationships. 5. Business Interests If you own a business or have a stake in a company, a prenup can help protect your business interests. It can outline how the business will be managed and whether your spouse will have any ownership rights in the event of divorce. 6. Financial Responsibilities Your prenuptial agreement can include provisions detailing each spouse’s financial responsibilities during the marriage. This may cover how household expenses will be shared, savings and investment strategies, and other financial matters that will affect your day-to-day life.

Divorce is an emotionally charged, life-altering event. When a marriage reaches a point where it can no longer be sustained, the process of legally ending it can be intricate and emotionally draining. While Texas law provides for various divorce options, understanding the different types of divorce is crucial for making informed decisions. In this article, we will explore the various divorce options available in Texas, from uncontested to contested, mediation, and more. Additionally, we will highlight the invaluable role of an experienced divorce attorney like Dawn Renken from the Renken Law Firm in Houston, emphasizing how they can help make the process smoother and ensure you don’t overlook important details. 1. Uncontested Divorce An uncontested divorce is often the most straightforward option for couples who have reached an agreement on all significant aspects of their separation, such as child custody, property division, and alimony. This type of divorce is generally less time-consuming and costly than other alternatives, as it minimizes the need for court appearances and lengthy legal battles. An experienced divorce attorney like Dawn Renken can guide you through the process, ensuring all legal requirements are met. Their role is to make sure that the agreement is comprehensive and that no crucial details are overlooked, thus preventing future disputes or complications. 2. Contested Divorce Contrary to uncontested divorce, a contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot come to an agreement on one or more critical issues. These disputes often lead to court proceedings and can be lengthy and emotionally taxing. In a contested divorce, a skilled attorney becomes crucial in protecting your rights, ensuring a fair outcome, and representing your interests in court. Dawn Renken’s experience in contested divorces allows her to navigate the intricacies of Texas divorce law effectively. Her insight into the legal system can prove invaluable in resolving complex disputes and advocating for your rights. 3. Collaborative Divorce Collaborative divorce is an alternative to traditional courtroom battles. In this process, both parties work together with their attorneys to reach a mutually beneficial settlement. This approach can save time and money while preserving relationships and reducing emotional stress, especially when children are involved. An experienced attorney like Dawn Renken can help you through this process by providing legal advice and ensuring that all legal requirements are met. Their guidance can lead to a more amicable resolution, which is especially important when co-parenting in the future. 4. Mediated Divorce Mediation is another non-adversarial option for couples who wish to avoid the courtroom. In a mediated divorce, a neutral third party, often a certified mediator, helps couples negotiate and reach an agreement. This approach encourages open communication and collaboration while addressing concerns and needs of both parties. Having a divorce attorney like Dawn Renken on your side during mediation can be advantageous. Her legal expertise ensures that your rights are protected and that any agreements made align with Texas divorce laws. Additionally, her presence can provide guidance and reassurance during a potentially challenging process. 5. Default Divorce In some cases, one spouse may not participate in the divorce process or may be unreachable. In such instances, Texas law allows for a default divorce. This process typically moves forward with minimal involvement from the absent spouse, making it necessary to ensure all legal steps are correctly followed. An experienced attorney like Dawn Renken can help you navigate a default divorce to ensure that all legal requirements are met, minimizing the risk of complications down the road. Her guidance can expedite the process and provide you with the resolution you seek, even in the absence of cooperation from your spouse. 6. No-Fault Divorce Texas allows for “no-fault” divorces, which means that neither party has to prove wrongdoing or assign blame for the marriage’s dissolution. Instead, one or both parties can simply state that the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities. While a no-fault divorce may seem straightforward, an experienced attorney can help ensure that this process is executed correctly and that the necessary legal documents are filed. Dawn Renken’s expertise can prevent any issues that might arise from improperly handling the paperwork. 7. Fault Divorce Although Texas recognizes no-fault divorces, some situations may warrant pursuing a fault divorce. Grounds for fault divorce in Texas can include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or a felony conviction. This type of divorce typically requires the gathering of evidence to support the allegations of fault. Dawn Renken’s experience as a divorce attorney can be invaluable in building a strong case for a fault divorce. Her knowledge of the legal requirements and procedures ensures that your claims are well-substantiated and your interests are protected. 8. Annulment An annulment is different from a divorce, as it legally declares a marriage void or null from the beginning. Grounds for annulment in Texas include bigamy, impotence, fraud, or underage marriage. An annulment can be a complex process, and having an experienced attorney is crucial to present a convincing case before the court. Dawn Renken’s experience and legal acumen can be instrumental in successfully pursuing an annulment in Texas. Her expertise in the intricacies of the legal system can guide you through the process and ensure your interests are protected.

What Is Divorce Mediation? For couples that have come to the decision together to divorce, mediation provides an alternative method than traditional courtroom divorces. Mediation involves a neutral third party: the mediator. The mediator works to help both spouses work through divorce issues and communicate while trying to make decisions that impact their futures. Divorce mediation has become increasingly more popular because it is private, affordable, and allows both parties to have more control over the final outcome of their divorce agreement. Divorce mediation is a great option for divorcing couples where both parties are willing to put their emotions aside and work together to amicably end the marriage. Family law attorney, Dawn Renken is a licensed mediator who can provide helpful legal advice throughout your divorce case. This includes resolving disputes, creating a child custody schedule, settling on child support payments, property divisions, and much more. Why Choose to Mediate Your Divorce? Although judges often order divorcing couples to participate in mediation before going to trial, you have the option of mediating on your own—either before you file for divorce or at any time after. Mediating your divorce has a lot of advantages over litigating it (fighting it out in court). ost. Mediation is much less expensive than a trial. Settling the case. Most mediations end in settlement of all of the issues in the divorce. Confidentiality. Mediation is confidential, with no public record of what goes on in your sessions. Freedom. Mediation allows you to arrive at a resolution based on your own ideas of what is fair in your situation, rather than having a solution imposed upon you based on rigid and impersonal legal principles. Advice still available. You can go to mediation and still choose to have a lawyer give you legal advice. Control. You and your spouse—not the court—control the process. Communication. The mediation process encourages communication between you and your spouse, helping you avoid future conflicts. Successful mediation makes the rest of your divorce easier: Because you’ve done all the hard work of hammering out the details in the mediation, you can file an “uncontested” divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually less expensive and faster than litigated divorces (divorces where the couple battles in court). With an uncontested divorce, you’ll save money on attorneys’ fees and the costs of going to trial. Also, many courts fast-track uncontested cases because everything has been worked out in advance, meaning that a judge will be able to finalize your divorce faster than if you’d gone to trial. There are many reasons that make divorce mediation attractive to couples but it is not for everyone. In order to have a successfully mediated divorce, both parties must be willing to work together and compromise in a civil exchange to come to an agreement. Reaching an amicable divorce can be difficult in relationships where spouses do not share similar goals or ideas about property division, child custody, or other important aspects of their divorce. Additionally, in situations where emotions are high and discussions are strained, mediation may not be the most efficient manner to reach a divorce agreement. There are other options such as collaborative divorce, arbitration, and of course litigation for couples that mediation does not work for. Contact us today to get the answers you are looking for about divorce in Houston, TX and surrounding areas. Experienced Family Law Attorney in Houston, TX Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Our team is dedicated to helping you and your family move forward without legal matters complicating your life. Contact our law office to explore your options for traditional marriage divorce and common law divorce, and find out how we can help you resolve any legal problems you are currently facing.

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