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How to co-parent through the holidays and beyond

Sharing custody of children and co-parenting can be challenging, especially during a divorce. The holidays can be both a good and bad time and for those going through a divorce, recently divorced or who have been divorced for some time, parenting can be particularly challenging during the holidays. The challenges surrounding the holidays can lead to child custody disputes but child custody disputes, of course, are possible year round. There are some steps divorcing and divorced couples can take to help minimize conflict concerning parenting time during the holidays.

To begin with, it is important to always have a parenting plan that is in writing. The parenting schedule outlines the agreement between the parties concerning child custody, visitation, holidays, birthdays, vacations and other important dates. The more specific the parenting plan the better, though specificity can vary according to the circumstances of the couple and the family. It helps for both parents to be reasonable and this is true regardless of the season. The more the parents are able to agree upon, the better the divorce process and co-parenting can be.

There are different methods to share parenting time during the holidays including alternating years and split time. It is also useful not to become fixated on specific dates on the calendar and remember that special times can be celebrated on any date. Being flexible, prioritizing concerns and being willing to negotiate can be tremendously helpful during the divorce process and when co-parenting following the divorce process.

The child custody agreement and parenting plan is part of the overall divorce settlement agreed upon by the parties. It can be useful for parents to understand how they are developed and what to include for their family to achieve a child custody arrangement that works for them.

Source: Huffington Post, "Holidays, Divorce and Who Gets The Children?" Jason Levoy, Dec. 23, 2015

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