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Planning your holiday visitation schedule: tips and tricks

The holiday season is well underway, with Hanukkah underway and Kwanzaa and Christmas fast approaching. For many families, this is a time of celebration. For others, it is a time of anxiety. Families affected by divorce, for example, must address the complex situation of creating a custody and visitation schedule for the holiday season.

This is no easy task. Spending the holidays away from their children is a painful thought for any parent. However, creating a clear schedule can prevent many headaches and complications. When it comes to creating your holiday visitation schedule, rely on these straightforward tips and tricks.

  • Use honest communication

When you and your partner are creating your new schedule, make your best effort to use clear, honest communication. Granted, it is not always easy or painless to speak with your former partner. However, having a straightforward discussion can help this process go much faster. If speaking is not optional, communicate via text or email.

  • Speak frankly to the children

The holidays can be difficult for children of divorce. Have frank but age-appropriate conversations with your kids to explain how you are dividing the holidays, and why. If your children are old enough, consider the input they have to offer.

  • Consult an attorney

Some situations simply cannot be resolved without the assistance of a legal professional. If this is the case for you and your former spouse, then a family law attorney can represent you in negotiations, or work as a neutral mediator. Lawyers have valuable insight into visitation disputes, and can help you create a schedule that works for both parties.

  • Use creative solutions

Finally, you will have to draw heavily on your creativity when coming up with plans for the holidays. Your schedule does not necessarily have to be 50-50, or involve splitting holidays. Perhaps your kids will spend Christmas eve with one family, and Christmas morning with the other. Maybe you will light two menorahs — one for each family. Pitch some creative ideas, and have your children come up with creative suggestions as well.

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