Are you in the middle of a divorce this holiday season? You can avoid a several pitfalls by preparing for family events and holiday parties. Not everyone may know about your divorce, and some who do could know through gossip, and what he or she “knows” could be false. Talking about the divorce is good for some and bad for others. You might have good relationships with some in-laws who might find it tough to spend time with you over family loyalties.
I asked the “Love Lawyer” columnist[i], Corri Fetman[ii], to offer her suggestions on how to address some key questions. Corri is the principal attorney at Corri Fetman & Associates, Ltd.[iii] Well-known for her representation of Chicago society clients; Corri knows how high-profile divorces can affect reputations.
1. How can people answer the dreaded question: “So, how’s the divorce going?” “Always answer in a positive manner no matter what is going on in your divorce. Do not discuss your divorce during the holidays or in general with anyone but your attorneys. Keep your answers brief and just say “Great” or “As good as expected.” If the family pressures you, just state that you really do not wish to discuss it especially during such a joyous time.”
2. What do you tell the kids about celebrating the Holidays regardless of the arrangements? “Depending on the age of the children, it is best to frame the answers in a positive manner. Always be honest about where the children will be spending the holidays so there are no surprises. It is important to stress that both parents love them dearly. Then you can explain to the children that they will celebrate with both parents and describe what the festivities entail in terms that children will understand. If the children believe they will receive more gifts because they are celebrating in more than one household, they will be fine. Children are very resilient especially if they feel loved and supported by their parents and extended family.”
3. When people give you advice on coping, how should you respond? “It depends on who is giving the advice and whether you respect their opinion. If you do, then by all means listen. If you do not, be cordial and say thank you for your opinion. Then run away so you do not have to endure any more useless lectures.”
4. Should you still visit with the in-laws you might like, or will it cause drama? “That is probably a bad idea. No matter how close you were with your in-laws or how much you think they like you, blood is ALWAYS thicker than water. I would avoid it at all costs.”
5. What should you do if in-laws have snarky comments to share? “I would treat it like your “haters’” comments. Ignore it but keep it in the forefront of your mind so it motivates you.”
Go forth and enjoy the holiday parties and family gatherings. Knowing you are better prepared to handle challenging social situations makes you that much stronger.
Whether you are faced with a dispute or need legal advice, rest assured, you need excellent legal counsel to fully protect you and your rights and interests and make strategic decisions, which will positively impact your future. The attorneys at Corri Fetman & Associates can be that counsel and much more.