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Avoid co-parenting stress during the holidays

One of the only things you can be certain of about life is that it often includes change. Some changes are definitely easier to navigate than others. Perhaps, you have encountered financial challenges, job changes or other issues that have prompted changes in other areas of your life. If divorce is one of those issues, you may agree with other New Hampshire parents who say it was one of the biggest and most challenging life changes in their personal journeys. 

If you recently divorced and happen to be a parent, you might be feeling a bit anxious about this year's holiday season. If your family celebrated Thanksgiving, you hopefully were able to devise a plan that was fair and agreeable to you and your ex. Thanksgiving is typically the kick off to an entire holiday season. By keeping several things in mind, you can help your children make new memories and adapt to their new lifestyle. 

Agree to focus on the children's best interests

While there might be minor issues that you're glad about now that you're divorced, such as not having to appease your ex's preferences of waiting to put up a Christmas tree or making a certain side-dish for a holiday feast, your children will no doubt enjoy their holidays more if both of their parents are willing to cooperate in a peaceful manner for their sake.

By agreeing to focus on what's best for your kids, you can create a holiday plan that your children can remember with joy instead of feeling stressed or confused and not wanting to celebrate at all.

Plan ahead and get it in writing

Many New Hampshire parents incorporate detailed instructions regarding the holidays into their co-parent agreements. This is definitely the easiest way to avoid disputes because both parents must adhere to the terms of the court order and everything is written out in a clear and thorough manner. If you want to trade holidays each year, you can.

If you feel strongly about one holiday but your ex wants to stay with the kids for another, you can customize your holiday agreement to coincide with such preferences. Some parents agree to spend certain holidays together because their children like spending time with both parents at once. It's up to you what your plan will look like; the point is to have a plan because it helps avoid stress and legal problems.

Don't double-gift

If your children will be spending a holiday that typically includes gifts in two separate households this year, you'll want to talk to your ex ahead of time. Let each other know what you both plan to give the kids. The children are far less likely to wind up with two of the same gifts this way. 

Speaking of gifts, it's also a nice gesture to help your children choose and wrap a gift for their other parent to avoid arriving at his or her house empty handed for the holidays. When children know they can freely show love for both parents without either one getting upset, they are better able to adapt to a new normal and enjoy their holiday season. 

If complications arise that impede your holiday joy

If you agree to spend a holiday with your ex for your children's sake and an argument breaks out, you might want to re-think your plans for future special occasions. What if your co-parent simply refuses to cooperate or compromise and disregards the terms of an existing court order? Post-divorce stress can put a serious damper on holiday joy. 

That's why it's always best to have a strong support network in place that you can access at a moment's notice if a custody, child support or visitation issue arises that impedes your parent/child relationship and ruins your holiday spirit. 

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