The New Year: A time to reconsider old habits:

January 1st of any year is an arbitrary period of time that happens to be the perfect chance to take a look backwards to see what you can do differently going forward.  This is true if you are divorced, or divorcing and especially true if you have children.  Most people have had a little downtime for Christmas and New Years before the rush of a new work quarter or a new school semester kick in.

First, the logistics:

Child Custody:  Dealing with a child custody schedule is about as pleasant as dealing with income taxes.  But, the sooner you address issues that may arise, the sooner you'll have less anxiety about those potentially unpleasant discussions with the other parent of your kids.  Take the opportunity to print out a calendar and map your entire year out.  Be sure to take into account all the teacher workdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and everything else in your Agreement or Consent Order.  If you're not sure of these actual days, go here: CMS CALENDAR

You should literally go find your Order or Agreement for custody and go through each and every provision that relates to days you have custody of the children.  Map them onto the calendar.  If you have good communication with the other parent, go ahead and send it to them for approval.  You will have just made your life, and your children's lives, a lot less stressful.


If this is your first year going through divorce, make sure you understand the tax consequences of everything you have agreed upon.  The way you file taxes has potentially changed where you can only file as "Single".  Double check now so you're planning in advance.   Also, make sure you know that alimony that you receive is taxable income to you.  Alimony that you pay is tax deductible.  Child support payments that you receive are not income to you.  Child support payments that you pay are not tax deductible.  Finally, read your agreement and see who gets to claim the dependency exemptions for the children.

Second, the "other" stuff:

Perhaps it's cliché, but the New Year might be an opportunity to think how you can improve on handling challenges versus the prior year.  In order to do that, you just have to look back at those moments where you were ticked off, upset, depressed, confused or frustrated about something that happened as a result of your divorce or custody situation.  Ultimately, you cannot control anyone else except yourself.  The question to ask is:  "If I act in a different way next time, will I come out of a similar situation feeling better?"  Rely on your family and friends to help you answer this simple question that can potentially enhance your life.  I hope January 1st is the start of a great New Year!