Christmas is meant to be a festive and happy time of the year. But for those going through a divorce or separation, it can be emotionally exhausting.
It’s important to have friends available for emotional support, but never for legal advice. Aside from the fact that friends aren’t equipped to give legal advice regarding divorce if they’re not family law attorneys, they can also add additional tension to an already stressful situation. If you’re going through a divorce or have a friend in this situation, here are some things to be mindful of during the holidays:
- Give your friend space. Going through a divorce involves a lot of sadness, especially because it involves the loss of a partner. It is a huge adjustment to make in life. It is important to give your friend enough space to go through the emotional pain in order to recover. This space is especially important in order to get past the emotional pain in order to have a clear head to make divorce-related decisions.
- Set boundaries. Divorce is overwhelming and can become very consuming. As a friend, it is important to put up boundaries and set the limits for your friendship. Let your friend know that you are only willing to discuss the divorce during certain times in order to avoid it being the topic of conversation all of the time. Since there can be a lot of negativity surrounding a divorce, it is important to use the time with your friend to focus on the positive aspects of the future after the divorce is over.
- Adapt holiday traditions to the situation. Many people have longstanding holiday traditions, and many times these can be forgotten about in the midst of a divorce. What many people do not realize is how important it is to keep these traditions going in order to help keep your friend’s spirits high. Do not let your friend become isolated. Depending on the situation, it may be a good idea to encourage your friends to go out to the holiday events they go to every year; and, if they need moral support, offer to accompany them.
- Start new holiday traditions. When you divorce from a spouse, you divorce their family, too. Many may find that they need to start new traditions because they can no longer spend the holidays the way they had in the past. Help your friend start a new holiday tradition by offering to include them in your festivities or by suggesting a new tradition to start.
Whatever you do, the most important piece to remember is that you can help your friend the most when you stick to just being a friend. Don’t worry about going above and beyond and giving advice about the way your friend should handle the divorce. Instead, just be there for your friend by listening when they need someone to talk to. And when your friend does come to you looking for legal advice, the best advice is to have them contact Jane Wesley Brooks, CFLS, for professional legal advice about their divorce. Contact JWB Family Law to schedule your consultation.