Holidays bring added stress in midst of divorce

Neal Augenstein,

WASHINGTON – Surviving the winter holidays is difficult enough as people juggle shopping, work and family responsibilities.

It gets even more complicated when a married couple has filed for or is contemplating a divorce.

“This is a very stressful time because of the divorce or separation,” says family law attorney Alan Plevy of the SmolenPlevy firm in Vienna, Va. “It’s also a stressful time because of the holidays.”

Plevy says having a plan about where children will be, and when, is important to minimize family tension.

“Confirm that in writing,” says Plevy. “Just an email or text. ‘Yes, I agree we’ll meet at Starbucks at 4 p.m. on Dec. 24.'”

Having a plan in writing will go a long way toward reducing family stress, he says.

“These are difficult times for the children most of all,” says Plevy. “Children are the innocents in all of this.”

Plevy says parents should try to avoid introducing conflict into an already tense time.

“Don’t get into a gift situation where you’re in competition with the other parent about who’s going to give the most or biggest gifts,” Plevy says.

Especially during the holidays, Plevy believes children value peace over presents.

“They just want to be with their parents, they just want to be with their parents’ families and they just want to be happy,” Plevy says.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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