Monthly Archives: November 2011

Planning Tips for Stress-Free Holidays

Parents facing separation or divorce can find joy in the holidays with proper planning

A good plan is like a road map, and although members of families coping with divorce may be traveling somewhat different routes, it is possible to find joy during the holiday season if parents think ahead and carefully plan ways to anticipate and avoid unwelcome detours.

To help develop such a plan, an attorney skilled in family and divorce law can work with parents to chart the best route for all concerned, since both parents and children benefit from knowing in advance how the holidays will be celebrated. Transitions are difficult for everyone, including the children, but a fair plan will allow everyone to take advantage of time together and to make the best of it.  When developing the plan, parents should consider the following:

Be creative: Consider new traditions.

Yes, things will be different.  “Different” is hard but it doesn’t have to be bad.  Although there is only one Thanksgiving day, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the holiday, just do it on a different day.  Giving thanks certainly isn’t limited to one day a year, and the spirit of hope and generosity is not confined to Christmas.

Develop a budget.

Be sure your plan includes a realistic budget based the experience of past years. Remember that while gifts are important, the best gift you can give your children is the time you spend together.

Pay attention to your emotions.

Resist the urge to allow past grievances to cloud the potential for enjoying happy times. Put unresolved issues on hold and let yourselves savor the moment.

Focus on finding joy in the holidays.

When you know that your children will be away, plan ahead to be with friends or other family members so you are not alone on holidays.

In short, careful planning enables you to enjoy the pleasures of the holidays. These occasions don’t sneak up on us, yet even at Christmas time it is not uncommon to see family lawyers and their clients standing before a judge on December 23rd because of poor planning. Emotional turmoil like that can be prevented if divorcing parents and their attorneys are proactive and prepare for the holidays. The earlier this is done, the better, and now is a good time to begin.

Combating Domestic Violence in Affluent Families

Victims of domestic violence surround us. Many victims from affluent families serve as pillars of our community, attend professional and charitable events with us, volunteer at our children’s schools, or are simply neighbors.  Outwardly, they appear to enjoy the luxuries and quality of life that the Chicago area provides, but their private lives are drastically different from their public persona.

While the true number of victims may never be known because the crime often goes unreported, research confirms that domestic violence in affluent families is a grave and epidemic issue.  “Elevated socioeconomic status can make domestic violence more difficult to report,” acknowledges Bradley Bloom, Chief of Police for the Hinsdale Police Department.  “For many victims they don’t want to come forward because it serves as affirmation of the demise of their marriage,” added Gary J. Schira, Chief of Police for the City of Batavia.  Both chiefs agree the stigma alone is a major deterrent to reporting the abuse.

For those victims who are ready to take the first step in asking for help, there are many protections that today’s laws now offer.  If there is an immediate threat to one’s health or welfare, contacting the police should always be the first call a victim makes.  For those victims who are considering divorce, but where there is no immediate threat, a family law attorney should be the resource relied upon.  One of the first steps an attorney can help with as part of an exit strategy is to secure a civil order of protection.  Such orders offer many levels of security for a victim, such as preventing the abuser from having any contact with the victim and the children, removing the abuser from the residence, or preventing the abuser from coming to the victim’s place of employment or the children’s schools.

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