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Navigating questions about your divorce during the holidays

The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for people going through a divorce or newly-divorced. You'll likely be around friends and family you haven't seen for awhile. You'll probably be attending office holiday functions where colleagues freed up by the festive mood and alcohol may be more likely to discuss personal matters than they would around the office.

Whether you like it or not, you're probably going to get some questions about the divorce and how you're doing. Whether the inquiries come from friends and family with genuine concern for your well-being or people who simply have no internal filter to prevent them from prying into people's personal lives, they can be uncomfortable and even painful to deal with.

It's important to have a strategy in place for dealing with these questions with grace, but without compromising your privacy. One author who's written about divorce suggests having a simple answer prepared -- something like, "It's been a challenge, but every day I'm getting better and better. Thank you for asking." She also suggests turning the conversation around to focus on the other person, how he or she is or what his or her holiday plans are.

This should stop most people with any amount of social skills from proceeding with further inquiries. Of course, we're not always blessed to be around such people. Further, in a social situation (and, did we mention alcohol?) people's inhibitions may be down. Don't feel pressured to answer their questions about your personal life, no matter how genuinely concerned they appear to be.

Sticking to a simple answer can also save you from yourself. Likely this is a time filled with all sorts of emotions, including anger, fear and sadness. It can be tempting to unburden yourself of everything you're feeling about your ex and what you've been going through. That's fine for close family, friends, therapists, your attorney and others who have been helping you through this experience. You don't want to unload all that on others. You'll likely regret it later.

If you need some advice and guidance in handling the holiday season as a newly-single person and navigating social situations like dealing with nosy people, your North Dakota family law attorney can likely recommend a therapist, support group or other safe space for you to talk about this difficult time. That way you can get through social gatherings without being tempted to share more than you should.

Source: Huffington Post, "The Best Answer to Nosy Divorce Questions" Honoree Corder, Nov. 29, 2014

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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