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Do not let divorce squabbles ruin holiday parenting time

The holiday season is one of the highlights of the year for many American families all over the United States, including in Colorado. It is the time of year when families and friends gather, go on winter vacations, exchange gifts and share special meals. However, as joyous as it may seem, planning holiday activities can be complicated for divorced parents.

Divorced parents both have the right to be with their children during the holidays, but they may end up making bad decisions, which can compromise their parenting time. It is important to review the child custody agreement as it designates visitation to the parents during the holidays. Each parent must check the specific holiday dates when the child is with him or her and which holidays and celebrations the parents will be spending with their children. The ex-spouses should also communicate about holiday custody plans in advance of the celebrations to ensure that they are on the same page, and they should confirm that they can meet halfway.

The children should be informed about holiday parenting plans. If out-of-town relatives are coming, it may a good idea to change custody schedules by encouraging healthy relationships with the family members on the ex-spouse's side. Additionally, if traveling out of the state is part of the schedule, written permission from the other parent, an itinerary of activities and contact information are essential.

Maintaining a positive attitude, even if the child has to spend the holiday with the ex-spouse, ensures the child an enjoyable holiday. Anxiety can make the child feel guilty about choosing a side between the divorced parents.

If holiday customs relieve negative emotions, it may be best to make new holiday traditions. Having a holiday meal with an ex-spouse, for example, may not be a comfortable choice but it can be abandoned after some point in the future.

When making child custody and visitation agreements, it's important to keep the best interests of the child in mind. Children benefit from having a healthy relationship with both parents. By working together, parents can provide their child with the love and support they need to thrive.

Source: The Washington Times, "Nine Holiday Tips for Divorced Moms, Dads, and Kids," Myra Fleisher, Nov. 11, 2013

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