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Tips for divorced parents to get through holiday visitation

Divorced spouses who successfully manage to co-parent their children understand this axiom: Know when to pick your battles. That, plus the following tips, can go a long way toward removing some of the stress from your upcoming holidays.

-- Plan ahead. Whatever your holiday itinerary, keep the other parent in the loop, and realize that he or she, too, will have one's own plans.

-- Communicate. By keeping the lines of communication open between the two of you, you can take advantage of cheaper airfares by scheduling visits in advance. When plans change, shoot them a quick email or text to that effect.

-- Cooperate. While it may be your ex this time who is haggling for a couple extra days of visitation, or early pick-ups and late drop-offs, next year it might be you that needs some adjustments.

-- Remain responsive. If you pick up on some red flags in your ex's holiday plans, voice your concerns early so that they may be resolved. It isn't fair for a kid to plan on a ski trip only to have their hopes dashed at the last minute.

-- Unless there are some very serious reasons (abuse, neglect, uncontrolled substance abuse), allow the kids unfettered access to their cousins, grandparents and aunts and uncles on the other side of the family. Strong family ties are the cornerstone of healthy adult relationships.

-- Be generous. If you take holiday photos of the kids, save copies for your ex and his or her family. Invite them to holiday programs and events in which your child is participating.

-- Coordinate gift-giving. Save the hassle of returns and the kids' disappointment at duplicate gifts by deciding who will give what.

If you have serious problems making holiday visitation work with the other parent, it may be time for your family law attorney to address the matter with a proposed modification of the custody arrangements.

Source: Huffington Post, "8 Tips to Make Holiday Parenting Time Less Stressful," Daniel Clement, Nov. 05, 2015

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