The Do’s & Don’ts of Divorce During The Holiday Season

by Jacqueline Newman, New York City based divorce lawyer

Keeping your sense of humor, without sarcasm.


  • Don’t allow the divorce to ruin your holiday spirit.   So the lights are not as bright and the holiday songs are a bit more annoying than normal, but that does not mean that holiday spirit as you know it is over. The fact is that while this year may be tough, the next year will be easier. The best present you can give to yourself when going through a divorce (besides maybe an extra Santa gift for yourself) is allowing yourself to know you will survive this.
  • Don’t take this opportunity to discover religion.  So, you are Jewish and never celebrated Christmas in your life, until you met your spouse. However, unless you are going to get a tree and replicate the holiday the way that the Children have experienced it during the marriage, you should give the day to the spouse who will really celebrate it.
  • Don’t let the sentimentality of the holiday season weaken your positions.    If you are going to regret them — It is the season of giving — just be sure not to give away everything you hold near and dear. You have been working so hard all year to reach a settlement and there are certain positions you have maintained and are very important to you. 
  • Don’t make your children feel badly that you are alone during the holidays.  Putting on a strong front and letting your children know that it is OK for them to enjoy the holidays with the other parent is an important (albeit maybe painful) message to get across to them.  It will also make it much easier when it your holiday time with the children next year. 

Do make sure that your holiday parenting access schedule is clear


  • Do make all efforts to be on the “nice” list.  The holidays are an emotional time for many people and even more so when ‎those people are going through a divorce.  It is very tempting (sometimes more than the holiday chocolates) to want to be vindictive and do things to annoy your soon-to-be ex or ex during the holiday season.  My advice is to resist. 
  • Do make sure that your holiday parenting access schedule is clear.  If an agreement has not been officially prepared yet and arrangements are made more loosely over email, it is easy for misunderstandings to happen. In the same vein, also be sure to make sure that everyone is clear on how the children’s days off from school during this period are being covered (especially when the nanny is also going away).
  • Do stay off social media.   Drinking at holiday parties and cham-pagne on NYE [New Year’s Eve] and slow times at work are all the ingredients for people spending more time on social media.  Be careful — do not take this opportunity to bash your soon-to-be ex on facebook or twitter.  Stick to posting cute pictures of your kids or your dog in Santa hats.
  • Do take the slow time at work to do your Divorce Homework.   Take this time to gather your documents and do your budget. Help your attorney help you so that when everyone returns for vacation, you will be ready and prepared to move forward with your case.  
  • Do let the New Year start new.  If you are holding on to the fight over the last cushion on the couch – let it go. While this may seem contradictory to the Don’t above, the key is to figure out what really matters and what does not. Let your case end and let 2019 be a year of new beginnings.

About Jacqueline Newman

Jacqueline Newman ( is a New York City based divorce lawyer and experienced NY matrimonial law expert. As managing partner of a top tier 5th Avenue Manhattan law firm focused exclusively on divorce, her practice runs the gamut from prenups for high net worth people contemplating marriage to high conflict matrimonial litigation in dissolutions involving complex financial assets and difficult custody issues.

Ms. Newman is the author of Soon-to-Be Ex: A Woman’s Guide to Her Perfect Divorce and Relaunch and Soon-to-Be Ex for Men: Preserving Wealth, Fatherhood, and Sanity during Divorce.

Jacqueline Newman Recent TV Appearance on HLN News:

Jacqueline Newman’s article How to read the warning signs that your marriage is in trouble,  in Lifestyle section of the New York Daily Times.


About Sandra Bell Kirchman

My passion is for fiction, especially fantasy fiction. I have been writing nearly all my life, since the age of 7 when I produced a 5-page novel called "Angus the Ant" - self-illustrated. My most recent novel WITCHCANERY is not about an ant and is available at most online booksellers. "Witchcanery" has won several awards and has met with modest, yet enthusiastic, acclaim from readers around the world. I've also edited and published an anthology for the writers at my site, called "Birth of a Unicorn and Other Stories," including short stories by fantasy novelist Stephanie Cresswell. Both books are available on Kindle; the latter is also available on Nook. Both books are sold as hard copies at most major online outlets as well as being available as paperbacks. One of my later ventures was horror stories; surprisingly, since horror stories scare me, I find I have a special affinity for them, especially in flash fiction format (under 1000 or less words). Currently, I am working on two WIPs, one a sequel to "Witchcanery," which several readers have made me promise to write; the other an apocalyptic novel called "The Road to the End of the World." There are several examples of this latter novel in my blog "Fantasyfic," formerly known as "Wizards and Ogres and Elves - Oh My!" Fantasyfic is on hold temporarily, while I work on my other two sites--"News, Views, and Gurus," and the said "Fantasyfic.". My other blogs keep me hopping. One is a roundup of news and some fun pieces from around the world. It is listed under the name of "News, Views, and Gurus." My blog "Puppy Dog Tales" is an ongoing sometimes humorous account of my adventures as an avid pet parent and animal lover. My little Shih-Tzu Ling Ling and my long-haired Mexican chihuahua are the joys of my life...and so is my husband, but I don't write about him. Anyhow, my blog "Puppy Dog Tales" is a work of love, featuring my doggies and other pets around the world. I'm a devoted advocate of animal rights and especially backing the cause of animal rescue shelters. My wonderful husband and I live in a very small town in southeastern Saskatchewan on the south side in a rustic, cedar-sided home. Our property is almost a whole acre, and is gracious and pretty (which is not easy to be in one package). All four of us are happy here.

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