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Tips to prepare children for holidays after divorce or separation

Divorce changes the holidays for families in Arizona. Differences that led parents to split could create negative emotions when one parent has to let the children spend holiday time with the other parent. Children could also feel uncertain about what to do, but parents can take meaningful steps to reduce family stress and keep the focus on children enjoying the holidays with both parents separately.

Planning is essential for a smooth holiday season. Parents should make an effort to stay calm and avoid old arguments when deciding the holiday schedule for their children. They need to choose pick-up and drop-off times and locations for the children in advance and communicate plans to their kids. Children should receive encouragement to have fun with both parents. For people who struggle to interact calmly with a former spouse, emotional support from a friend, relative or therapist could help the person process feelings and avoid fights.

When children arrive home after spending holiday time with another parent, they should not be hit with questions about what the other parent did or said. Parents need to allow their children to talk about their experiences on their own terms without being made to feel uncomfortable about time spent with other parents. When children talk about what they did, the parent should accept this information in a supportive manner.

Although sharing children over the holidays often challenges divorced parents for years, the negotiation of the custody schedule during the process of divorce creates an opportunity to limit future disputes. The representation of an attorney may aid a person who needs to work out a formal co-parenting plan for the court. An attorney might suggest strategies that often work for other families and help to broker compromises. Legal help may also help a person navigate decisions about property division during divorce.

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