Appropriate Gift For A Recently Divorced Friend
Someone asked me to advise her of a good Christmas gift for her recently divorced friend. Because I spend all of my work time helping folks who are dissolving their marriages, I get this question up-close-and-personal. It’s a great question. And there is a library full of good books out there on remaking your identity after divorce, on finding your new self, on dating post-divorce, and on starting your life fresh. But those aren’t the best gifts; chances are the divorced person has done her own research and bought the books best suited to who she is and where she is in the recovery/grief process. She may even feel insulted if you pretend to know what she needs in that regard better than she does.
The problem is that it never occurs to the divorced person’s family and friends that, most of the time, she just lost at least half of everything she owned, and that those things all need to be replaced. And, by the way, she now has less income to do it with, especially if she’s paying alimony. And she has less savings to do it with because she spent at least some of that, if she had it in the first place, on legal fees.
Create Your Divorce Registry
So, the best holiday gifts will be items that she might originally have put on her bridal registry but also that she actually used during her marriage. In fact, the absolutely ultimate gift will be a “divorce registry” at Amazon, where she can list all those items that she used during her marriage and that she lost in the divorce, things that experience has proven she actually will utilize in her new life as a single person.
Maybe her list includes the electronics he took with him. Perhaps it includes furniture that she gave up but still needs. Maybe it’s kitchen items. It could even be necessary treatments and haircuts that she can no longer afford. Or she might register for actual money. Maybe she has large attorney and expert fees that she owes. Maybe she just needs money to get by or to begin to build back her savings.
Newly Divorced Needs
Try not to judge her. Instead, celebrate her ingenuity. These are the items that she truly needs. And rather than merely receiving gifts that aren’t necessary, she is registering for what she actually requires and will therefore appreciate.
We prepare registries for many things. Usually they are used in celebration, like for a wedding or for a new baby. But one thing is common amongst registries. They mark life-changing moments that cause new needs. If divorce doesn’t do that, I don’t know what does.
What would be on your divorce registry?
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About this week’s author, Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed in the United States Supreme Court upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.