A Family Law Attorney’s Holiday Gift Guide
As a family law attorney, I have an interesting perspective on gifts for people in your life who are going through a divorce, separation, or involved in a custody dispute.
Here are five gift ideas for children whose parents are going through a separation.
1. Friendship Lamp Purchase on FriendshipLamps.com The Friendship Lamp is a set of two lamps, one at each person’s house, and when one person taps their lamp, the other person’s lamp lights up. This is a great way to let your child know you are thinking about them, and also a great way for your child to let you know they are thinking about you when you’re not together. This could also be purchased for siblings who are sometimes apart, or other family members that the child cannot see as often as they would like.
2. Gizmo Watch Purchase from Verizon The Gizmo Watch is a smartwatch designed specifically for children. You can only load trusted contacts, limiting who your child can communicate with, and it also includes GPS monitoring so you always know where your child is. For older children, a smartphone is a great way to stay in touch when they are not with you, but the Gizmo has been a great tool for children who might not be old enough for a smartphone of their own.
3. Digital Picture Frame
One of the best things I have seen as a family law attorney is the use of technology between co-parents, and one of the best examples is the use of a smart picture frame. With a smart frame, both parents can add photos to the frame, which allows the child to have pictures of all their family members at both homes. This helps the child understand they have one family, even if they live apart.
4. A Special Backpack
Children have a special bond to their personal items whether it’s clothing, stuffed animals, or a special pillow. Providing your child with a special bag to carry their belongings in can make an otherwise unstable situation feel more stable, and it allows children to carry their safety items in one place. This can also help children gain independence by having to pack their own things, and know exactly where they can find the items that make them feel safe.
Books help children learn about new things, and feel less alone in their situation. There are tons of books available for all age groups, and here are some we have come across: Living with Mum & Living with Dad My Two Homes, Melanie Walsh (ages 2-6); Dinosaur’s Divorce, Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (ages 4-6); The List of Things That Will Not Change, Rebecca Stead (ages 8-12); Now What Do I Do?: A Guide to Help Teenagers with Their Parent’s Separation or Divorce, Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski (ages 10-17).
Here are five gift ideas for a friend or family member who is going through a divorce.
1. A Night Out
Chances are your friend who is going through a divorce is looking for a break from thinking about their divorce. Or, perhaps, if they are going through a custody dispute, they might be lonely that their children are not with them. Whether they are happy to be going through a divorce, or devastated, it can be all-consuming. A night out with friends is the perfect break from the discussions with lawyers, the hushed conversations around their children, and the frustration they are probably feeling by not being in total control of their lives. Remind them of who they are as a person, and not just as a spouse/parent going through a difficult time. Maybe it’s dinner and drinks, or going to a yoga class, or the movies. Just get them out of the house for something fun.
2. Rage Room
While I do not condone violence, there is something so incredibly satisfying about smashing a plate in a place where you are not only allowed but encouraged to do so. Often people going through a divorce have no real outlet to let out their emotions, either because they are too busy with their lives or because they just don’t know how. A rage room will let them yell, scream, and get out their feelings in a safe place, with friends.
3. Throw a Divorce Party
Laughter is the best medicine, and there are some hilarious items out there for a divorce party (check out Pinterest or Etsy). Some of my favorites include: Divorce Squad T-Shirts; “Pairs Well with Freshy Signed Divorce Papers” wine label; and a card that says, “At Least You Can Stop Pretending to Like Your In-laws.” (All available on Etsy). Just take note that this humor is for the parents, and not the children.
4. Name Change Kit
Changing your name after a divorce can be a hassle. Luckily, there are companies out there trying to make it easier. You can give the package to someone, which will help the transition back to a former name a simpler process.
5. Books! There is a vast variety of books to give to a friend who is going through a divorce or a custody dispute. There are amazing self-help books out there (When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön), as well as memoirs of people who have been through similar situations (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert). There are also books completely unrelated to divorce and custody, which would provide a much-needed escape for your friend. I suggest going to one of the many bookstores in the area, and talking to the staff for suggestions. My favorites include Greedy Reads, The Ivy Bookshop, and Atomic Books.
For Your Co-Parent
Here are five gift ideas for your co-parent. Like them or not, your co-parent is an important part of your child’s life, and it’s important to not forget that. There is no time like the holidays to extend an olive branch, and what better way to do it than by sending a gift?
Making baked goods with your children and then gifting them to the other parent is a great way to let your children know that you acknowledge their other parent, and that you encourage them to have a relationship. Sometimes children of divorce feel like they can’t even talk about one parent to the other, so it will be nice for children to make something for one parent with the other parent.
2. Framed Photos of the Children
All parents take hundreds of photos of their children each year. Chances are, because they are on your phone or your social media, your co-parent has not seen the photos you’ve taken, and you’ve not seen the photos they have taken. No one loves your children as much as you do, except your co-parent. Imagine how happy you’d be to see an adorable picture of your child that you had never seen before.
3. Activity for your Co-Parent and the Kids
By acknowledging that your co-parent and your children have something in common, that is acknowledging that you honor the relationship your children have with both of their parents. You could even have your child gift the item to your co-parent, as the co-parent will know that you assisted in getting the gift.
Parenting is hard and exhausting. Giving the gift of coffee (such as a gift card or bag of beans) is a nice way to acknowledge that parenting is hard work, and caffeine helps. Starbucks gift cards are incredibly simple to gift (email or text options exist), or you could support a small business.
No one knows how to co-parent apart until it is happening. Parenting is difficult enough as it is, never mind trying to co-parent with someone that you don’t even live with. Sharing books on the topic is a good way to get on the same page with your co-parent and shows that you are both committed to making an effort to making thigs easier for your children. My favorite books include Two Homes, One Childhood, Robert E. Emery, P.H.D., Loving Your Children More Than You Hate Each Other: Powerful Tools for Navigating a High-Conflict Divorce, Lauren J. Behrman, P.H.D. and Jeffrey Zimmerman, P.H.D.; and Dr. Gina’s Guide to Kid Friendly Divorce, Gina Santoro, P.H.D.
If you have questions about navigating your divorce, contact Wasserman Family Law at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our main number 410-842-1070.
Disclaimer: Opinions and conclusions in these blog posts are solely those of the author unless otherwise indicated. The information contained in this blog is general in nature and is not offered and cannot be considered as legal advice for any particular situation. For legal advice, you should directly consult a lawyer to discuss the specific facts of your matter.
By reading this blog, you acknowledge that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the author.
Any links provided are for informational purposes only and by doing so, the author does not adopt or incorporate the contents. The author is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and they cannot be repurposed without permission.